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Hoping to roll back the years

Al Nasr club are looking forward to rediscovering their winning ways when the new season starts.

By Sayed Ali, Senior Reporter
23:28 September 6, 2008
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Dubai: Al Nasr, the UAE's oldest club having been established in 1945, will be hoping to end 22 years of heartache by winning the League title in it's first year of full professionalism.

The last time Al Nasr Club won the title was in 1985-1986. During that golden season they clinched the double - the President's Cup and League title. In the past they have been title contenders although they have fallen short on most occasions. They finished runners-up in 1996-97 to Al Wasl and 1999-2000 to Al Ain.

But over the last eight seasons their fortunes have dipped and they have been far from competitive.

Falling down

During these seasons, they have been stuck in the middle of the table and in some seasons, they finished in the bottom half.

In the 2006-2007 season they were also threatened by relegation. However they saved themselves by showing some character in the last four matches which kept them away from relegation.

Last season, Al Nasr finished in the ninth place out of 12 clubs in the First Division. At the end of the season the club's board realised the weaknesses of the team which have been underachievers.

They agreed to take note of team coach Luka Bonacic's advice to get rid of some old players who had been performing poorly.

At the same time, the Croatian coach advised the board to sign young and promising Emirati players and to replace goalkeeper Salim Abdullah who showed poor form the whole of the last season.

Abdullah who was on loan from Al Shabab club returned to his old club and Al Nasr signed Al Ahli's reserve goalkeeper Abdullah Mussa. They also signed Mohammad Omar, who was the UAE skipper in the last Gulf Cup in Abu Dhabai who had played last season with Al Dhafra.

Also joining the Al Nasr ranks were Adil Nasib and Yousuf Abdul Aziz from Al Jazira, Tariq Bilal from Al Khaleej, Mohammad Ennazy former Al Wasl striker and Salim Zayed from Al Dhafra.

At the same time the clubs released defender Abdullah Mussa and Khalid Sebil to Al Jazira, Walid Murad to Al Wasl, Yousuf Mousa and Dawood Saleh to Ajman and Darwish Ahmad to Al Ain.

Al Nasr have held training camp in two countries from July 26 to August 30. They spent three weeks in Slovakia and two weeks in Turkey and played several warm-up games.

Al Nasr are looking foward to making a brand new start in the new season.

FACTFILE

  • Established: 1945 in Al Shindagha.
  • President: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
  • Board chairman: Qadhi Muroashid.
  • Venue: Al Maktoum Stadium.
  • Capacity: 15,000.
  • Nickname: Al Ameed (oldest and most famous club)
  • Colours: Blue jersey, white shorts.
  • Coach: Luka Bonacic (Croatia)
  • Manager: Eissa Juma.
  • Skipper: Mohammad Khamis.
  • League titles: Three - 1977-'78, 1978-'79, 1985-'86.
  • President's Cup titles: Three - 1985, 1986, 1989.
  • Top goal scorer last season: Carlos Renato (Brazil) 10 goals. Now playing for Al Shabab Club.
  • Foreign players: Mohammad Nasrati, Redha Enayati, Mehrzad Madanchi (Iran).
  • Players to watch: Mohammad Ebrahim, Amir Mubarak, Adil Nasib, Mohammad Omar, Mahmoud Hasan, Esam yousuf, Abdullah Mousa, Yousuf Abdul Aziz.