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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 03/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al ahli coach urges games governing body to protect players with regard to tight schedule

Al ahlí’s hugo viana and ehsan haji safi of sepahan in action during their group d match of the afc champions league at the rashid stadium on tuesday. — kt photo


Cosmin olaroiu has called upon the uae football association (ueafa) to do more to ensure the ‘protection’ of its clubs and players in the afc champions league.


The red knights laboured to a dire 0-0 draw against iranian outfit sepahan at rashid stadium late on tuesday night for a dogged result that still kept them on course to qualify for the last 16 of the continental competition.


However it was ahli’s sixth game in 20 days and there appears to be no let-up in the near future with five more matches scheduled in just 16 days between this saturday and tuesday april 22.


That fixture backlog understandably has a detrimental effect on the players’ fitness and their chances in competitions at this late stage of the season — a harmful hindrance that needs rectifying according to olaroiu.


“we wanted to win the game but unfortunately we couldn’t because we didn’t have the lucidity and the power to finish off our attacks” the romanian coach said.


“this is our sixth game in 20 days and i don’t think even in europe teams play in this tempo.


“we can say: ‘okay it’s happening’ but we’re starting to have problems now and the players are complaining about injuries.


“the next game against al hilal is a very important match on april 15. after that on the 19th we play the etisalat cup final (against al jazira) and on the 22nd we play the final group-phase round in the (afc) champions league (against al sadd)?


“how can i prepare for the al sadd game when the etisalat cup final will be on the 19th the 20th will be about recovery we’ll leave to go to qatar on the 21st and we’ll play on the 22nd? explain to me how i can prepare for this match?


“the players here are not prepared to play six or seven important games in a row over 20 days. we have to protect — and adapt — them to this way.


“teams in europe have 25 players who are all almost at the same level so they can replace and rotate.


“we don’t have 25 players in the uae. even other clubs like jazira or al ain cannot change six or seven players game by game.


“that’s why they should think about a programme that protects the respective teams a little bit for the afc champions league because we’re representing the uae on the international stage. we have to be very clear think very well and choose the right decisions.”


A clear case of the type of predicament olaroiu wished to avoid occurred in the first half when luis jimenez hobbled off limply with what looked like a hamstring tweak or strain. it was seemingly too early for olaroiu to give a prognosis on the extent of the injury yet it’s clear jimenez isn’t his only fitness concern at present.


“i was afraid we were going to get another (injury) because we have two or three players that are complianing” the 44-year-old coach added. “congratulations to my players. they’re heroes. they cannot even talk now. i’m affected because i want the players to progress and realise something more.”


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