Leko: We Must Snatch the Three Points and Will Not Seek Excuses for We Are, Simply, Al Ain


Ivan Leko, the head coach of Al Ain Football Team, enthusiastically opened the pre-match press conference of his team match against Al Fujairah by stating a saying that his former coach used to repeat prior each match: “new match, new challenge”.

He pointed out that the the team’s main goal is to win and show a significant performance. “We have trained well and still we another two training sessions in which we will boost our efforts, given we have analyzed our performance in the last match against Hatta. We have already set our plan for the coming match.”

Leko added: “The positive point is that we won! We did well against Al Sharjah, but we lost to the home team. Meanwhile, we did not do great and we won our guests, Hatta. We have to create the required balance and exhibit a robust performance and play collective football against Fujairah to come back home with three points in hand.”

Responding to a question on whether he analyzed the opponent’s style of playing, he said: “Absolutely! I watched more than five matches of Al Fujairah team which we always before any match. We analyze their strengths, weaknesses and their players. We do respect the opponent for sure, but we are the Al Ain and I have full trust in my squad, and we would play in the style that ascertain our strong charisma against the opponent.”

Ivan Leko stated that he responded to the question on Al Ain does not have player No. 10 many times. “Each press conference I am asked the same question and my answer is transparent, that is we do not have a playmaker who could score 15 goals and assist in scoring another 15 goals. However, we would not cry or seek excuses because we have the super quality players who could easily make the difference. We have the skillful with amazing potentials striker, Laba Kodjo this is why we have our own style of play and we score goals and statistics show that we are the highest in scoring goals as we score two to three goals each match.”

On the reason why he is not including Edris Mizouni in the team’s first eleven list and whether he could be the team’s playmaker, he said: “Idris is a great midfielder but not a playmaker. Also, as per the UAEFA regulations on the foreign players, we are allowed to have four foreigners in the starting lineup, in addition to two resident players. Unfortunately, we have to keep one or two of them out of the list. I did explain this to the players, and this is why I kept Yahiya Nader out of the team’s list when we played against Ittihad Kalaba and the same applied to Omar and Idris in other matches.”

As for the players expected not to play against Al Fujairah, Ivan Leko with a sigh of sorrow said that he has a long list of injured players. “There are players who rejoined the squad and certain players still receiving medical treatment, including Mohammed Jamal and Mohammed Fayez who kicked off his training sessions two days ago. We would miss also Mohammed Ahmad who has not joined the team’s training sessions recently due to a minor injury we have also Rayan Yaslam, Khalid Al Bloushi, Abdul Rahman Meziane, Jamal Marouf, Mohammed Khalfan and Ahmad Barman who returned from the last match of the UAE National Football Team injured.”

Leko concluded that all these players are important but as stated earlier nobody is seeking and excuses because simply “we are Al Ain”.