AL RAYYAN Football Head Ali Salem Afifa said the top-four finish in the Qatar Stars League (QSL) was the highlight of last season and added that he was looking forward to the coming year with plenty of optimism.
“We were contenders in all competitions that we took part in and what makes us sad is the fact that we concluded the season without any title,” Ali Salem told www.qsl.com.qa.
“We had a tough start and then came the change of coach, with (Jorge) Fossati moving to the Qatar national team. We acted quickly and signed Michael Laudrup, but the players needed some time to adapt to his method and system. I think we really improved after that period and got much better in the Qatar Stars League’s final rounds.
“One of the plus points is that we finished within the top four. It means we’ll have a chance to make it to next year’s AFC Champions League through play-off. Winning the tournament is an important long-term goal for us. We always need titles, and Al Rayyan will be stronger and better in the coming season,” said Ali Salem.
Rayyan will hold their pre-season training camp in the Netherlands. They signed Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah from now-defunct El Jaish for two seasons in place of Spanish striker Sergio Garcia, who returned to native side Espanyol.
“Hamdallah is a terrific player and was a joint top scorer with Tabata in the 2015-16 season. He missed many matches with his team during this season due to an injury. We wish him all the best with Rayyan,” he said.
Ali Salem congratulated Garcia.
“There’s no doubt that Garcia was a key player for us. He was well-disciplined and experienced. He surely served the team well and it’s sad to see him leave,” he added. Dsp