Al Shabab have been an example of a teamwork club in the UAE Pro League. In term of their final position in the last two seasons of the Etisalat Pro-league, There was a good improvement as they finished fourth last season, two places better than season 2009-2010 where they were on the seventh place. They also won the Etisalat Cup last season and their place was guaranteed twice in the final game of the President Cup in the last three seasons but they lost them all.
A similar improvement is expected from Al Shabab this season. The club board may not expects winning the league, but Paulo Bonamigo’s players are looking to be a real threat to the usual top clubs such as Al Jazira and in the coming lines you will find Al Shabab key to success:
Head Coach: Paulo Bonamigo is an important element of Al Shabab success formula. Since sigining with Al Shabab on 8th of December 2009, the team is having significant improve in terms of tactic and team style. The Brazilian manager is known for his balanced tactic, good reading og the game and the wise choice of foreign players. This season won’t be different, Paulo has the ability to improve his group and turn them into champions (maybe this can happen today when they face Al Ahli in the 2nd leg of GCC Champions Cup!) as long as he can keep his squad fresh, foreign players perform well consistency and avoid dropping points in their home ground as they lost 3 times and draw in four games last season.
Teamwork: Al Shabab can be considered the best club, at least in my opinion, with constant teamwork performances last season. Last season’ teamwork saw Al Shabab clinching their place in the next Asian Champions League and winning the Etisalat Cup. This came by performing at the same high level even without their main playmaker Carlos Villanueva who missed a number of games due to injury. The kinds of players Al Shabab have aren’t the same as champions Al Jazira, but they can perform well and adapt Bonamigo’s way of thinking. If Bonamigo keeps this playing style and the local players continue improving, Al Shabab fans can expect ending the season within the top three for sure!
Foreign Players: The South American trio, Carlos Villanueva, Julio Cesar and Ciel, had a great impact into the team last season and gave the management no reason not to renew their contracts. Those players are what any coach is looking for, the good vision and killer passes in Chilean playmaker Carlos Villanueva, the speed and Samba de Brazil dribbling in Ciel while Julio Cesar completes the job in front of goal.
The signing of Uzbek international Azizbek Haydarov from Bunyodkor is the bonus addition to Al Shabab’ midfield as we saw from the first few games this season. The central midfielder has a well build with 182cm height and can play box to box midfielder with good defensive and attacking skills. Haydarov will also help Al Shabab in their continental journey because of his previous experience in the AFC Asian Cup and Champions League.
Area to improve: Off the pitch, Al Shabab had some financial problem at the end of last season, but they could solve it as his highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed was there for the rescue.
Inside the pitch, there are some areas where Al Shabab must improve to continue building on the last season form, a local striker is needed to partner Julio Cesar -I would suggest Fasial Khalil from Al Ahli. The last important area is the defence, especially the goal keeper. Al Shabab concede 31 goals last season. Salem Abdulla’ errors have cost Al Shabab a percentage of those goals. Bonamigo didn’t leave the problem and return the service of ex-national team goalie Ismail Rabee who started his career at Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.The presence of the well experienced Hassan Al Sharif, Olympic national team goalie’s Ahmed Mahmoud and Talal Obaid will raise the competition and improve that area which is totally good for Al Shabab head coach.
Other than what I have just said, LUCK is what Al Shabab will be looking for then who knows! Maybe at the end of the season Al Shabab fans will be the happiest in the world!