Dubai: Al Wasl striker Fabio Lima says it’s impossible for the club to compete at their best across all tournaments without investing in new players.
The Cheetahs find themselves playing in four competitions this season after a surprise second-place finish in the Arabian Gulf League last season qualified them for this year’s Asian Champions League for the first time in a decade.
But Lima says that unless the club invests to meet the growing demands on the current team, they won’t develop.
Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s side remain in the knockout stages of both domestic cup competitions but they have recently slipped from first to third in the Arabian Gulf League and they lost their Asian Champions League (ACL) group opener 2-1 at home to Qatar’s Al Sadd last week.
Speaking ahead of Al Wasl’s away trip to Uzbekistan’s Nasaf Qarshi in their second ACL group tie from 5pm UAE time on Tuesday, Lima said: “Al Wasl need more players for all competitions, we have 16, it’s impossible to play all competitions 100 per cent.
“Everybody knows, the committee knows, the coach knows, we need more experienced players for all competitions, we don’t have but we give our best.
“Inshallah (God willing), next season, the committee will bring more players to play in more difficult competitions.”
The year Al Ain won the Asian Champions League title
Asked where Al Wasl should now aim their sights given that they can’t — by his own assessment — stretch to compete across all competitions, the 24-year-old Brazilian replied: “For me it’s more important the two games in the cup,” he said, referencing the forthcoming Arabian Gulf Cup semis and President’s Cup quarters.
“Al Wasl have not played for a long time in Asia and its normal (to lose) if all players have never played in Asia.
“We experience now but inshallah next season we will be able to give our best in all competitions.”
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Al Ain are at home to Qatar’s Al Rayyan in their second ACL group game from 7.10pm after having drawn their opener 0-0 away to Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal last week.
The Arabian Gulf League leaders were knocked out in the Arabian Gulf Cup quarters with a 7-2 aggregate defeat to Al Wahda at the weekend as they look to prioritise their demands in the business end of the season.
Al Ain will look to stay ahead of second-placed Al Wahda in the remaining six games of the domestic league season, while also looking to reclaim the President’s Cup, and advance to the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League where they remain the only UAE side to have won the title in 2003, twice losing the final in 2005 and 2016.
Asian Champions League fixtures
Nasaf Qarshi v Al Wasl, 5pm
Al Ain v Al Rayyan, 7.10pm