Al Jazira players return to training post Covid-19 break
Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer keeps a close watch on his players during a training session at Al Jazira's Emirates Palace training centre. - Supplied photo
Abu Dhabi - Training was held in groups of just 12 players per session, in line with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council guidelines.
Al Jazira FC have taken cue of putting sport back on track in the UAE post the Covid-19 break as they resumed training under the watchful eyes of head coach Marcel Keizer at the Emirates Palace Training Centre.
Keizer lauded the attitude and work-rate of his players during the lockdown period, with the squad now making a phased return to training in preparations for the 2020-21 campaign.
The Al Jazira players trained in small groups this week, for the first time since March when the Arabian Gulf League was postponed due to the pandemic.
With groups of just 12 players per training session, in line with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council guidelines, Keizer and his backroom team conducted indoor gym and training pitch drills. The Dutchman praised the efforts not just of his team, but everybody who helped manage a safe return to action.
"It's been a long, tough period for everybody - our players, staff and supporters, however I speak on behalf of the team when I say how proud I am of the support we have received and how the community has come together.
"Our team kept positive and professional throughout this time, maintaining high levels of fitness with home workouts provide by the Club. We were all in touch regularly and kept our team spirits high.
"It's great to be able to have the squad back on the training pitch and we appreciate this wasn't something that could happen overnight. It is only possible because of the work behind the scenes from so many people across the club, our partners and the people of Abu Dhabi. We are exceptionally proud of the support that we have received to help us get back."
Club captain Ali Khaseif returned to training with a message for supporters after the four months break.
"Lockdown was tough but we kept our focus. The coaches really helped with workout plans to keep us fit and it was great to still receive support from fans which really kept morale high amongst the team.
"Now we have to show our appreciation to the Abu Dhabi community and our fans and work hard in this period before the season starts. Lockdown and the lack of football has made everybody hungry for success and we can't wait for the season to get going."
Helping ensure a safe return to training, the club's premium partner HealthPoint, part of Mubadala's healthcare network, carried out Covid tests on all players and staff before they were able to return to training, whilst Premier Motors are supporting the club as the Season Preparation Partner, providing logistical support as the club gets ready for the September return of the Arabian Gulf League.