Shabab Al Ahli player Dawoud Ali (left) and Cosmin Olaroiu address a press conference at Al Ahli Club on Wednesday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club’s coach Cosmin Olaroiu is looking forward to a grand and exciting beginning for the re-branded club as they commence their first-ever season.

The club is the result of the unification of three former clubs — Al Shabab, Al Ahli and Dubai Club — following a decree by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in May this year.

Since then, all three entities have been working towards the formation of a ‘Super’ club under the chairmanship of Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman.

Shabab Al Ahli Dubai begin their season with an away-game against Al Wahda on Friday in Group B of the Arabian Gulf Cup.

“We are in transition. This is a very unique challenge which I doubt any other coach or players have been through here,” Olaroiu told media on Wednesday.

“We are missing some key players, but we need to find our way with what we have, and that is the best way forward,” added the Romanian.

“The first game is our first test. We will get to see the level of our players and try to find a way forward. For sure, we will need a bit more time to judge our own level and see what we can do from next season.”

“The challenge will be to evolve as a solid team with the same ambitions and motivations. The system will eventually come over a period of time,” Olaroiu noted.

After the league turned professional in 2008, clubs have been allowed to field four foreign professionals – including one from Asia – in their playing eleven. Since the merger, Olaroiu has retained Senegal striker Makhete Dioup and speedy Brazilian-born Moldova national Henrique Luvannor as his first choice players.

Tomas de Vincenti, the nippy playmaker from Argentina who was with Al Shabab last season, has also been retained to man the midfield.

But the search for an Asian player is still on before their opening Arabian Gulf League (AGL) opener against Hatta on September 16.

However, former French star Moussa Sow - who was on loan last season with Fenerbahce but returned briefly to join his club before their departure for their external camp in Poland – has once again been offloaded to the same club in Turkey.

“We want an Asian player who will help our team, not just anyone will do. We are looking for a player who will assist us,” Olaroiu said.