WHILE Al Rayyan have no need to press the panic button, that is not the case with Qatar’s Al Arabi, who finished a dismal fifth at the GCC Clubs Championship.
Arabi lost four of the six games played, including a straight-set hammering at the hands of arch-rivals Rayyan, and have reasons to be worried about.
Fabricio Souza was the saving grace for Arabi with his power-packed smashes. The Brazilian, who joined the Reds from Qatar SC towards the end of league, has gelled well with new team-mates, but he has been lacking support and it remains to be seen how long they can continue to rely only on him.
New coach Patrick Duflot, also from Brazil, has been trying his best, but lack of firepower upfront has been hindering the team for a while.
Arabi had triumphed only once in GCC history, in 2010 when they beat Rayyan in an all-Qatar final. But since then, they have always remained a top-three side.
It was for the first time since 2013 that they were finishing outside of top three.
However, Duflot hopes his team will come back stronger.
“It’s a temporary setback. This won’t derail our focus. We’ll continue to give our best and with luck on our side, we can be back to our best,” he said.