I Want to Play in Our Style to Achieve the Best Results
I Trust the League Officials Decision to Resume League Activities
I Would Say Nothing About the Future as we are Required to Clinch Titles in the Present
I Feel Comfortable with the Players During the Online Training Sessions
Family Spirit Boosts the Team’s Strength, and We Endeavor to Make the Fans Happy
I Watch Al Ain Matches Daily While at Home Quarantine
Working with the Family Spirit is the Most Significant Lesson Learned Out of COVID-19 Pandemic
“It is too early to talk about our preps for the coming period and prefer to focus on the current season, considering that chances of my team are still valid to compete and win titles,” Pedro Emmanuel, head coach of Al Ain FC, said in a statement to Al Ain TV Channel while hosted by the producers of “Al Ain in A Week” Show on Thursday 14th May 2020.
While talking with a surge of excitement, the Portuguese coach emphasized that his team will fight to hoist the AGL and President’s Cup trophies. He said that “we will play in our well-known style and the way we win our matches.”
Pedro stressed that he prefers to focus on the current season, “So, I will not talk about the next season while we have lots to do in the coming matches, which we look forward to winning them all by the end of this season.”
“All the players well aware of the Club’s goals and the coaching team besides all members of our big Club knows our profound desire deeply to achieve our targets and our fans’ aspirations,” he said.
He went on to say: “This is why we have to focus on sound planning and be honored on coronation podium to be all happy. Then, we could talk about the next season and what we have to do. Currently, our future is the present, and we will be working according to this common sense.”
Responding to a question on how he satisfied by the online training sessions, he said: “I believe that online training sessions are completely different from what we used to do. However, our players show remarkable responses while conducting these training sessions via visual meetings. All of them enjoy their time as they are highly committed with the instructions of home quarantine.”
He added: “These are defining times for them all. It is not only about physical aspects but about the team spirit, which I could easily recognize. They enjoy the presence of their teammates supporting each other, which is an important issue for the coaching team.”
Pedro underlined that the coaching team must maintain the team’s high level of physical fitness. “We enjoy the times when we see them training and demonstrate such high morale. It is essential for us as a team, and the most important thing is that they enjoy the family spirit over time.”
On the PLC provisional decision to resume the league activities by August 2020, he pointed out that society’s health is more important than football. He stressed that specific new ideal mechanisms to manage matches in post-COVID 19 should be addressed.
Hailing the PLC decision, he said: “Personally, I do trust the officials’ decisions on the right time to resume collective training sessions and matches. I believe suspending and deferring all dates of matches was an important decision. We all have to ensure that players are comfortable to enjoy the matches and perform well, considering that the fans will not be present in the standings as usual and as we like and prefer but at home.”
Pedro confirmed that “when we play, we play for Al Ain and win. When we are comfortable, we will have confidence in ourselves and perform well and achieve our desired goals.”
Al Ain Portuguese coach touched upon the lessons learned out of this current pandemic, including that we all need to stand next to each other, and this is not only in our routine life but extends to football. “Alone, we cannot achieve our goals, and we all need to enjoy the teamwork spirit, and this is what we see happening at present. This is the most important lesson form me.”
“I believe that this is the most important lesson for me. We will face the challenge in the next stages at the individual level but at the level of the society and the whole world because simply the world will change,” Pedro said.
He highlighted that we have to adapt to such change through the spirit of the one family, exactly like when a team plays in matches. “Things will get better, and we could achieve our targets as the teamwork proved to be a success. We are not alone, and together we will be stronger.”
Commenting on a question on how he spends his time during home quarantine, he said: “We experience unusual times and absolutely it difficult for all of us. Home quarantine has forced us to stay at home more than we used to do. In return, we spend more time with the family, which is a good thing.”
“Currently, we are doing a lot of things that we do not have time to do it. We all enjoy the time with the family, and I consider this as a crucial aspect,” he said.
Amongst other things he does at home daily, he is so keen to watch Al Ain matches and how he could develop and improve the team’s performance. “I want to make the team’s performance the best and achieve the greatest results.”
He concluded the interview by stating, “We all have to be safe and stay at home and follow all the preventive and precautionary instructions issued by health authorities. We have to do simple things that we are not used to doing daily, but we are required to do them by the end of the day.”
We Inherited Certain Problems and Working to Rebuild the Fabric of Referees’ Home Indoors
Ali Hamad: “FIFA” Necessitated to Have 5 Substitutes in One Match During 3 Breaks
Not Contented with the Referees’ Performance for the most recent period
Referees’ Preparations for the Next Season are Different
Referees Players and Organizers are Subject to Pre-Match Medical Tests
Emirati Referees are the Backbone of UAE Football
“The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) adopted the principle of the safety of players and all those involved in the game by approving the recent amendments to the game regulations. FIFA required all the continental and local football federations to evaluate the general and health conditions in conjunction with the breakthrough of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Based on that the majority of the football federations have taken the necessary measures and decided to suspend sports activities and competitions,” according to exclusive statements made by Ali Hamad Al Badwawi, Chairman of the UAE Football Association (UAEFA) during a TV interview hosted by “Al Ain in a Week” Show broadcasted by Al Ain TV Channel on Thursday 14th May 2020.
Al Badwawi added: “Given the lengthy suspension period, the situation definitely requires to take measures to prepare the players to round back into form. Additionally, most of the current proposals are about to resume football competitions on August 2020, and this entails attaching the current competitions to the teams’ schedules in the new season, including regional and international competitions, including the AFC Champions League and Asia’s World Cup qualifiers.”
Al Badwawi also stated that FIFA has already amended Article No. (3) of the Football Law on the number of players. The new amendment stipulates to have 5 substitutes in one play during 3 breaks. The latest decision aims at limiting the overuse of players by teams facing a more condensed schedule.”
On the proposal made by Dr. Talal Al-Khazraji, Chairman of the Al Ain Club Medical Committee, on making the total number of substitutes to be 7 players based on medical considerations and to reduce fatigue levels experienced by the players, Al Badwawi said: “UAE has highly qualified medical professionals and experts and also has a future vision that keeps pace with the development indicators. I believe that Dr. Talal Al Khazraji, who submitted his proposal ahead of the FIFA amendments to its law regarding the number of changes regardless of the number five or seven, proved to be right.”
He pointed out that five changes are logical, and a sixth substitute would be allowed in matches requiring extra time. “I believe that the FIFA amendments are consistent with the opinion stated by the Chairman of Al Ain Club Medical Committee.”
On whether there is a specific mechanism to make the substitutions during the games, he said: ” In an effort to avoid time wasting that could result from the extra substitutions, teams would be required to make all five of their changes during three breaks in play. The extra substitutes would take place between the two halves of the match or the extra time.”
Al Badwawi commented on a question on advantages realized during the past period to handle all criticism and comments on the decline of the referees’ performance, specifically on how to deal with the VAR technology by saying: “Actually, since I assumed my responsibilities as the Chairman of the Referees Committee, I stated several times that I am not satisfied with the referees’ performance during the last period. In response, we held several workshops to keep pace with all development indicators, especially the “VAR” technology. Indeed, referees were not lucky enough with the decisions they took in certain games.”
He pointed out that UAEFA invited Italy’s Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee to deliver several lectures, along with the British David Alir David Alire Garcia/ Director of the Legislative Council and the Technical Director at FIFA, who organized nearly ten lectures for the Emirati referees who was selected for being a supervisor of VAR Project at FIFA.
“We also sought the help of a mental health specialist to help referees before, during, and after the matches. We do hope these efforts will work, and we could realize tangible results in the coming days,” he said.
Ali Hamad shed light on the committee’s efforts to further improve the referees’ performance during the suspension period of all sports activities due to the breakthrough of the novel COVID-19 saying that “The Committee organized online lectures and workshops as per a well-established weekly program that included five activities, namely: analyzing home matches physical fitness training programs until PLC has issued the provisional decision to resume the league in August 2020. The referees were relieved from the physical training program, but they were limited to online programs via the electronic platform dedicated to the referees. Additionally, we adopted a weekly test program and a comprehensive program to round back referees into form and be ready for the coming period.”
In response to a question on the referees’ preparation programs for the next season, he said: “Certainly, the pre-season programs are completely different and for the first time the pre-season away summer training camp has been canceled. The Committee adopted online home individual training programs and still waiting for new medical plans, reports, and necessary medical checkups to be conducted in line with the instructions to be issued with the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority. All referees will do a second coronavirus test before kicking off the home training camp, if any, and medical tests will be made before each match for the referees, players, and organizers.”
On requests to task foreign referees to manage the league matches due to dissatisfaction with the VAR flaws, the Chairman of the Referees Committee stated: “This is a twofold-question! One is related to dissatisfaction with VAR technology use, and UAEFA is held liable to handle such an issue by adopting a marketing project of VAR technology. Requests raised by stakeholders via social medial platforms and media means are far from the protocol. Certain provisions govern VAR use if they are violated, and the UAEFA will be subject to penalties imposed by the FIFA Legislative Council. Therefore, it is necessary to adhere to the protocol to avoid any further penalties. The Referees Committee is currently working on marketing the VAR protocol to educate stakeholders on the mechanism of using this technology and cases which should be referred to VAR technology.”
Regarding appointing foreign referees, Al Badwawi stressed that H.H. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Council, and the Honorary of President of UAEFA, supports the Emirati referees substantially.
“I believe that the Emirati referees have achieved a lot gained a significant global reputation. Mistakes are expected in any football matches due to the nature of this game,” he said.
However, he insisted that the committee must minimize such mistakes and support Emirati referees as the central pillar of UAE football.
In response to a critical question on whether the Referees Committee inherited problems from its predecessor, he said: “Honestly, every person exerts sincere efforts according to the available inputs and administrative experience. However, by the end of the day, it is the stakeholders who evaluate that person’s performance as things in the world of football are crystal-clear, and you cannot ignore comments and reactions addressed by the concerned parties.”
He went on to say: “Undoubtedly, there were deficiencies in certain aspects, and we strive hard in the coming period to rebuild the fabric of the referees’ home.”
On steps taken by the Committee to fix abnormalities further improve the referees’ performance, Al Badwawi stated: “A new and flawless system will be adopted that defines the tasks of each person according to their specialty along with the junior and senior referees’ development programs. The Committee has already coordinated to kick off reach out programs in five countries, but the whole program was deferred due to the breakthrough of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. We received confirmation from the USA, Japan, Sweden, Uzbekistan, and Belgium to gain experience from various foreign schools. UAEFA also is one of the first countries to adopt the distance learning system via a platform dedicated to referees.
He stated: “Additionally, UAEFA established a Referee Academy that would work in harmony with the AFC Academy. The UAEFA originally initiated the idea in 2015, but the AFC implemented it as Singapore’s coach Shamsul resigned and joined the AFC. The Committee also started the processes of the referees’ home internal organization and issued new amendments to referee regulations, including the activation of sanctions and financial rewards.”
The Chairman of the Referees Committee concluded the interview by confirming that the UAEFA doors will remain open to all and that the Committee is so keen to receive opinions and proposals dedicated to referee performance development.
Belonging to Al Ain Makes Feel Contented and Happy.. Laba Kodjo: Waiting Impatiently to Resume the League
I Refuse All Gossips, and I have A Valid Contract With the “Global” Boss Until 2022
The Secret of the Team’s Strength is the Spirit of the One Family
Feel So Proud for Joining This Lofty Club
I Do Not Think About Buying A Car, and I Only Focus on Defending the Boss’ Badge
I have my own file of my mother’s recipes
I spend most of my time at home and so keen to keep in touch with my family, teammates, and friends
Hosted by “Al Ain in A Week” Show broadcasted by Al Ain TV Channel, Togo international forward Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba said that he enjoys the best moments of his life in Al Ain FC as he “has a great family of his teammates, coaching and admin teams and on top is the unlimited support of the fans.”
He stated: “It did not take me much time to adapt to everyone here and really feel comfy and happy here for belonging to such a big club. I do wish to resume this season soon and achieve the desired goals.”
Laba responded to a question on the recent press reports on offers presented by Arab, African and Gulf football clubs saying that they are all fake news and totally rejected. “I am a player in Al Ain FC and so proud to be part of this lofty club. We are here more than a family, which is the secret for boosting the one team spirit among the teammates, coaching and admin teams and fans in and off the pitch. We are always in direct contact and checking on each other, besides exchanging advice.”
Among the points he also highlighted, Laba put an accent on the fact that he has a valid contract with AL Ain FC until 2022.
“I am waiting impatiently to resume football activities,” Laba commented on the provisional decision announced by PLC to resume the league by coming August.
He added: “It is not a secret to say it is a great decision as it gives the players the chance to prepare well for various football competitions, especially the players’ physical fitness to be round back into form.”
As for his daily program, given the current circumstances, he pointed out that the whole world is facing challenging times due to the breakthrough of coronavirus pandemic. “However, we are enjoying the days of the holy month of Ramadan, and I spend most of my time in my home quarantine. I always communicate with my teammates online, do my training sessions individually, watch football matches, and chat with my family members.”
Commenting on the online training programs, he said: “My daily online training sessions include working with my teammates and implementing all training instructions but individually. Also, I do my jogging and running exercises, besides using my bicycle as well as training with the ball to refine my skills and maintain my high level of fitness.”
Talking about his nutrition diet during his voluntary home quarantine, he commented: “I consider myself as a lucky chile since childhood as I was and still a hard worker and obedient to my dear mother. I keep certain recipes of my mother and keep it in a special file. I prefer preparing Togo’s traditional plate in addition to rice, pasta, and many other plates.”
On why he has not bought a car so far as his teammates, he said that the Club provides him with all that he needs and that his house is so close to the training fields and this is why he does not require a car. He pointed out that “I only focus on defending the Club’s badge and playing football.”
He also said that he is living by himself and that he prefers to stay at home most of the time. “Until the time my family joins me, I would buy my own car.”
Laba addressed a message to his family, friends, teammates, coaching teams, and all members of the Club for everything they do for me. “I call upon everyone in these hard times to stay in solidarity and be united to overcome this global challenge by abiding by all preventive measures, staying at home, boost their immunity, and maintaining their dynamic lives to eliminate this pandemic by breaking its spread cycle.”
He signed the interview by stating: “I would like to ensure all the Ainawi fans that I belong to Al Ain and so proud to be a player of the “Global” Boss.”
Taking Part Eagerly with Blood Donation Initiative.. Al Ain Football Stars: We Are Committed to Be Part of Noble Humanitarian Initiatives
In realization of Al Ain Football Club commitment to serve and maintain the safety of the society through keeping direct lines of communication with the local public and private entities, a number of the football stars took part in the activities of the blood donation initiative held by the Blood Bank located at Al Jimi District in Al Ain City.
The donors of Al Ain stars, included Khaled Eisa, Mohannad Salem Al Enezi, Mohammed Fayez, Rayan Yaslam and Mohammed Saeed Bu Senda.
Weather Temperatures in August Do Not Help Resume AGL Activities Intensely.. Chairman of Medical Committee Proposes Certain Amendments to Protect Players from Injuries
Dr. Talal Al Khazraji, Chairman of Al Ain Medical Committee of Al Ain Football Club Company, stressed that the weather conditions during August do not help resume the activities of the Arabian Gulf League unless the UAEFA adopts certain amendments to its regulations.
In an interview hosted by “Al Ain in A Week” Show broadcasted by Al Ain TV Channel, Dr. Talal stated: “These amendments should be adopted to prevent players from being exposed to injuries, given that preparations period would be kicked off by July. Indeed, training sessions would be intense to boost the players’ physical fitness, and we have to consider the fact that high temperatures and humidity would have negative impacts on the players’ health and concentration, as well as the psychological pressures.”
On the amendments he suggests to protect the players during the coming period, Dr. Talal said: “I believe that resuming the league on August which is featured by the high temperatures and humidity shall impose certain limitations regarding the timings of kicking off the matches by 08:00 p.m. as temperature degrees start to cool down.”
Dr. Talal also stated: “From a medical point of view and considering the hot weather conditions, we also recommend to increase the number of substitutes to be 7 instead of 3 players. This would definitely reduce the rate of injuries and lower the players’ physical burden by 50%. Also, this would boost the technical level of matches by distributing the burden among all the lineup of the team.”
We Had Negotiations with Nigerian Ejuke Chidera During Winter Market Transfer
Marouf Received an Official Offer to Renew His Contract
Being hosted in “Al Ain In A Week” TV show broadcasted via Al Ain TV Channel, Majid Al Owais, Board Member of Al Ain Football Club Company, pointed out that Portuguese Pedro Emmanuel deferred submitting his final technical report including his recommendations on the payers’ status and new names of foreign and Emirati players to join the team this season considering the decision to suspend all sports activities due to the breakthrough of coronavirus pandemic.
“Society’s safety comes first! This is why all clubs adopted online training sessions during the current circumstances and as a sign of commitment with the preventive measures,” Al Owais responded to a question on the team’s current preparations.
He said: “The head coach held an important meeting with the players following the last training session held at Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium and before the decision to suspend sports activities by mid-March 2020. He thoroughly explained to them how important it is to adopt all the preventive measures that dictate social distancing, and he granted them a one-week break before sending each and every player a customized training program.”
Al Owais shed light on arrangements agreed upon with the head coach regarding the activation of the online training programs through holding videoconferences with the players to be supervised by him and his assistant coaching teams.
“Despite using this solution as the only one available, it is a temporary one as holding training sessions on the pitches is completely different, and the existence and interaction of players enhance the team spirit. However, the head coach holds individual visual meetings with the players before kicking off the training sessions to discuss many other important issues. Indeed, as I stated earlier, the society’s safety comes first,” he said.
Replying to a question of the future of Kazakhstan’s Islam Khan and Hungarian Balázs Dzsudzsák signed to Al Ain in the winter market transfer for six months, he said: “Actually, when we tackled this issue with the head coach on his needs and requirements during the winter market transfer, he expressed his desire o have a playmaker and a defender. Following holding negotiations with the defender, he asked for more amounts. After deliberating the issue with the head coach and agreeing that options available during winter are not similar to the summer transfer market, we all decided to have two new players for a six-month contract and to assess their performance to renew their contracts if they prove that they are an added value to the team. The alternative plan was to seek to sign new players during the summer transfer market per the team’s needs and consistent with the head coach’s vision.”
He went on to say: “As we quit the idea of signing with the defender, we had Islam Khan who signed a six-month contract. We had an intention to have the Nigerian Ejuke Chidera “22 years old”, striker of Netherlands’ SC Heerenveen, onboard, but we did not reach a mutual agreement to sign the contract. Then, we had Balázs Dzsudzsák, who signed for Al Ain as a free player to take advantage of his vast experience as a captain of the Hungarian National Football Team and his exceptional potentials instead of leaving a vacant slot in the team’s lineup. Indeed, Dzsudzsák did well with the team during the past period.”
As for Jamal Marouf, Al Owais commended his exceptional and excellent performance, although he was a bench player for most of the time. “Based on the technical recommendations of the head coach, we presented him with an official offer to renew his contract as we have the desire to have him as a key player in the team.”