The 1-0 triumph over the German club is a confidence boost for the domestic league champions in the lead-up to their international debut as the host nation representative at the FIFA Club World Cup in December (8-18).
Al Wahda are now back home after the 26-day camp in Regensburg, Germany, and preparing for the curtain-raiser event before the start of the UFL season – the Etisalat Super Cup at Maktoum Stadium on August 20. They face last season’s President Cup winners The Emirates Club, in a bid to claim the football season’s first piece of silverware.
Al Wahda’s newly appointed Bulgarian football manager, Boloni Laszlo, said the camp was positive but there was still more to be done, despite the first team’s success on the field in Germany.
“I have been happy with the team’s preparation so far, although there is still a lot of work to be done before the start of the season,” he said. “It’s good we played two or three quality teams because this will help the team prepare well for the club world cup.”
He said several players were unable to travel to Germany due to youth national team commitments, including Ahmad Ali and Adel Al Hosani, who have been touted as part of the country’s ‘golden generation’ after the U-23s National team defeated Kuwait 1-0 in the Gulf Cup final in Qatar. The young up-and-coming stars have now rejoined their club.
Al Wahda’s pre-season camp began on July 12 – one week after the team returned from their end-of-season vacation. Laszlo said it was an opportunity for the team to bond and meet any new players who have joined the club. He also said it was a chance to assess the team’s strengths and weaknesses and familiarise himself with his new squad.
The current Al Wahda squad remains relatively unchanged from the team that won the championship last season. An addition to the squad is the former Bani Yas and Ivory Coast striker Modibo Diara, who scored his first goal for his new club against SV Weiden – Al Wahda won that match 3-2. Two players were released during the off-season, 29-year-old Brazilian midfielder Pinga and Omani international Hassan Mudhafer.
The club was given direct passage into the most prestigious club championship after finishing at the top of the domestic league last season.
The FIFA Club World Cup brings together the club champions from six continental confederations: Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Oceania, as well as the winning team from the host city’s national league. From December 8 to18 the teams will compete to be crowned club world cup champions over 11 days of action at Zayed Sports City and Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
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