DUBAI: Al Ahli club are now armed to the teeth with Lebanese defender Youssef Mohamad joining the Red Knights as their Asian player.
Mohamad will take on Italy’s former captain Fabio Cannavaro’s role in the defence for the upcoming 2011-12 UAE Football Association season.
The new Lebanese recruit was introduced at the Al Ahli club by Mansour Lootah, board member of the Al Ahli, and Fabio Cannavaro consultant of Al Ahli’s football company.
Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah and Ahmad Khalifa Hammad, Executive CEO of Al Ahli, were instrumental in bringing about the required changes in the team’s texture.
“Coming to UAE and Al Ahli is special. It’s something good for me. The club has big ambitions. It’s not the distance, (Lebanon and UAE), that we are close but the UAE league, which is 100 per cent professional which has prompted me to make the switch,” said Mohamad the new Lebanese defender.
Mohamad, currently playing for FC Koln in the Bundesliga and the Lebanon national team represented Lebanon at the 2000 Asian Cup. He also captained the team from Nov.2004 to Aug.2005.
“Well, playing in the UAE league with top club Al Ahli is exciting. The players are good and top foreign players have joined the squad. I have played with Grafite, he is a good player,” commented Mohamad.
The Brazilian, Grafite, from Wolfsburg was brought on a two-year contract, Brazilian Jackson Coelho from Trabzonspor (Jaja) was engaged on a three-year contract and the Chilean international, Luis Antonio Jimenez from Ternana Calcio, joined Al Ahli on a four-year contract.
Naboodah needed new players to win trophies in the new season and announced the signing of these three new foreign players. While training in Australia, Al Ahli sealed their Asian player Mohamad, who will serve Al Ahli in the defence.
“It’s not the nationality we want professional players. We seen the commitment and the potentials and hence we signed Mohamad,” informed Lootah. Mohamad has reportedly signed a two-year contract after successfully passing the medical test.
It took Al Ahli four years after their establishment to win the UAE league twice consecutively in 1975 and 1976 then again in 1980.