No easy ride, coach warns ex-Nigeria international, others
Striker Emmanuel Emenike and teammates at Al Ain have been warned about the uncertainty that surrounds their positions at the United Arab Emirates club.
According to coach Zlatko Dalic, Al Ain’s dominant victory earned without foreign stars like Emenike and Ryan Babel against Arabian Gulf League title hopefuls, Al Nasr, proved nobody’s place is safe.
The champions swept to a fearsome 3-0 win in Dubai at the weekend against previously-undefeated opponents despite ex-Nigeria international Emenike, 28, being sidelined by a hamstring injury and Netherlands winger Babel, 28, being an unused substitute.
Reserve striker Saeed Al Kathiri struck the opener from the penalty spot and was one of several Boss second stringers to take their chance, Dalic stating training ground displays dictate his selection policy rather than reputations.
He said: “Saeed is now our first striker. I gave a chance to him as for the last few games he has scored goals, in the league and Arabian Gulf Cup. That is most important. He deserved this chance.
“We scored three goals today and played without Emmanuel Emenike and Ryan Babel. But for me, the team, which does well in training is always your best team. “I am always with my players, every day, and I see what happens and who is in better form. Then I make my decision. But, also in my roster there is pressure on Emenike and Babel. Inshallah next game, they will be there as I need everybody.”
– Oladipo Okubanjo