Time for celebrations

Time for celebrations
Al Ahli's Abdulaziz Sanquour and Al Nasr's Jonathan Pitroipa fight to gain ball possession in Dubai on April 24.

By James Jose

Published: Sat 7 May 2016, 9:50 PM

Last updated: Sat 7 May 2016, 11:55 PM

The Rashid Stadium will be the fitting stage for Al Ahli's coronation as the Arabian Gulf League champions on Sunday night when Cosmin Olaroiu's men receive the shield after their final fixture against already demoted Al Shaab.
And in what should be a glittering ceremony after the game, coach Olaroiu urged the Al Ahli faithful to come in numbers and join the festivities at their fortress in Al Quasis. The Red Knights won the League with two games to spare after Al Ain's loss to Fujairah and Sunday night will see them being crowned for the seventh time.
There are question marks over Olaroiu's future but the night will be all about celebrations after all the hard work that they have done to return to being the best football club in the country. "We have got our last League game and there is no pressure because we have already won the League. I hope and wish that the fans will come and enjoy the game and join the festivities," said Olaroiu. I hope the fans will come in large numbers and celebrate the title with the players. The players have put in a lot of hard work and sacrifice to win the League."
Despite taking an Al Shaab side, which has already been relegated to the First Division, Olaroiu said it would not be easy and added that it was important to wrap up the season with a victory. "It will by no means be an easy game. Al Shaab have been relegated and it is their last game in the League. So, they will be playing for pride and now that we have won the League, it will give them added motivation to beat us. So, we have to show the same level and keep the same focus when we play against them. We have to show the same intensity," said the Romanian.
Olaroiu said a win will be a fitting end to a season for a team which has been through a lot. "The players are the main cause for all the success that we have had so far. They have sacrificed a lot and faced difficult circumstances and great challenges. There were a number of high pressure games and we have also had to deal with a number of injuries. But the team had done exceptionally well to overcome all the hurdles," the 46-year-old said. Meanwhile, defender Humaid Abbas too echoed Olaroiu by hoping for a massive turn out of fans for their final fixture. "It's our last game in the League and we want to celebrate and play well and show a champions' performance. We hope the fans will come to the stadium to support us and celebrate with us," said Abbas. The game will be sort of a dry run for the President's Cup quarterfinal where both these sides take on each other at the Al Sharjah Stadium on Friday.
 Al Shaab coach Stefano Cusin said that they will use this as a tune-up for that game. "Everything has already been concluded for both sides in the League now. Al Ahli are champions, and we have been relegated. What we have to look forward to is the President's Cup. We will take the chance to rest some players in this game and get them ready for next Friday because it is not worth it to risk them in an inconsequential game.
 But I would like to say that I have great confidence in my players, who have shown a clear improvement in their levels of performance in recent weeks, and this is what makes me proud to train this team," the Italian said. - james@khaleejtimes.com

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