AL SADD seem determined to make an impact and wrest the Qatar Stars League shield next season.
Sadd looked good last time to regain the league title after a gap of three seasons, but finished two points behind Lekhwiya as both teams lost only a game each in the 26-round competition. Jesualdo Ferreira’s men made amends by winning both Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup.
The triumph at the Emir’s Cup also ensured the Wolves a place in next year’s AFC Champions League while Ferreira walked away with the Qatar Football Association’s Best Coach Award. The Portuguese was then linked with the national team job, which is likely to be vacated by Jorge Fossati after Annabi’s World Cup qualifier against South Korea on June 13, but Sadd said he would manage the team next season as well.
“At Al Sadd, our aim is to always have stability and compete for titles. This’ll happen only if we continue with the current coaching staff led by Jesualdo Ferreira,” said Sports Director Mohammed Gholam Al Balooshi.
Sadd, who had extended the contract of Spanish ace and captain Xavi Hernandez by another year, acted quickly by also retaining top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah (23 goals in the QSL) and fellow-Algerian forward Jugurtha Hamroun.
Al Arabi captain Boualem Khoukhi was roped in from Al Arabi while Saoud Al Hajri became the latest signing, the Qatari goalkeeper moving in from arch-rivals Al Rayyan on a one-year deal last week.
Saoud said Sadd’s ambitious plans for next season prompted him to join them.
“I’m delighted to have joined two-time Asian champions Al Sadd, who’re a big team with a lot of titles. The biggest factor that pushed me to join the club was the plan for next season,” Saoud told the club’s website.
“Sadd are a team that always looks to improve and work for the best. It’s a huge honour for me to be a part of the club’s plans for next season. I’ll work hard to be in the good books of the management,” said Saoud.
Sadd have also announced their pre-season schedule.
They will camp in the Austrian city of Worgl, close to the Germany border, from July 20 to August 5. During their stay, they will play three friendlies against yet-to-be named opponents. Prior to leaving for Austria, the team will hold a five-day training camp in Doha.
And in between, the club is busy searching for further reinforcements, with former Qatar Under-19 team captain Ahmed Moein and Brazilian striker Romarinho of El Jaish linked with the club.