Sharjah coach Al Anbari hopes of a sustained run
Sharjah players and officials celebrate after winning the Arabian Gulf Super Cup title on Saturday. - AGL
Dubai - On Saturday night, Al Anbari saw the Arabian Gulf Super Cup, UAE club football's traditional season opener, being added to their trophy cabinet after they had won the Arabian Gulf League in May.
Two pieces of silverware in four months, Sharjah are riding the crest of a wave. It remains to be seen if 'The King' can hit the glory heights of the 80s and 90s but coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari is surely doing some things right which gives hope of a sustained run.
Al Anbari has been a loyal servant of the club, as a player until nine years ago. Now, jettisoned into the hot seat, the 41-year-old Emirati has put together a team that is capable of winning titles. He has imposed his style of play and yet stayed in the background and let his players take all the adulation.
On Saturday night, Al Anbari saw the Arabian Gulf Super Cup, UAE club football's traditional season opener, being added to their trophy cabinet after they had won the Arabian Gulf League in May.
Al Anbari knows better than anyone that it would be difficult to keep it going, especially since other clubs have invested in talent - both local and foreign - in the summer and are now battle ready for a new season. Yet, it is not out of the realms of possibility.
"Sharjah gets a fresh character," said Al Anbari.
"We always wanted to be among the challengers and this had always been a goal for us," he added.
Al Anbari, who was handed the reigns in 2017, hoped that his team can replicate what they did last year. The club from the northern Emirates had strung together a hot streak last season, going unbeaten through their first 23 fixtures. Ironically enough, they won the League after a 23-year wait.
"I hope the team keeps to what they did last year. It won't be easy to be champions again. We need to work hard. For me, it is good if we keep the top teams close. We must think only the good things if we want to be champions. It will be difficult for us to keep this going but we will double our efforts," explained Al Anbari.
Meanwhile, Al Anbari was delighted to add the Super Cup to the League title. "I'm happy with this win. I think Shabab Al Ahli did well against us. This game was very tough for us and after the red card, it got even more difficult. We planned all the details. We were not expecting penalties, but after the red card, we put our mind to at least holding up till the end," he said.
"A lot of work went in, starting with the management, the staff and the team. It was a big effort from the players. For me, this is a great personal achievement," added Al Anbari.