It comes as no surprise that a ‘mid-table’ team in Sharjah FC was able to defeat Arabian Gulf League trophy holders Al Ain in the crucial midweek match-up. Sharjah has always been a formidable adversary for Al Ain having won 8 and tied 8 of the 29 games between them, regardless of whether the game was played in Al Ain or in Sharjah.
However, what’s different this time around is the fact that this squad has got a sense of tenacity that one would recall of the team in the 80’s and 90’s of UAE football.
In the last 10 years of AGL action, Sharjah FC the highest they have ended in the table was a mere 6th position as a result of their performances last season and previously back in 09/10. While it is still too early in the season to predict outcomes, they are currently leading the table with a 4 point difference between them and their nearest compatriots – Al Jazira.
Secondly, the rate at which the offense is turning over goals, it could primarily break its own record of 40 goals scored in a single season achieved in 13/14. With eight games played, the frontline courtesy of Brazilians Welliton and Coronado have led the scorers list driving the club to 20 goals while remaining defensively strong with a goal differential of 13. The last time they had a positive goal differential was 6 years ago with four.
The technically adept Emirati manager Abdul Azeez Mohamed Al-Anberi, despite of all skepticism, has proven that an Emirati manager with the right mentality and determination can achieve the same level of success as their non-Emirati compatriots. And as it stands, Abdul Aziz has managed to craft a sense of belief along with implementing a can-do attitude among this core group of individuals as they keep their eyes focused on the end goal – the Arabian Gulf League title.
And the same resonates with fans as well. Abdelrahman Al-Shamsi, a die-hard fan of the club, recognizes Al-Anberi as the key individual who deserves all the credit for Sharjah's current fortunes.
"The key element to Sharjah’s performance is the coach Al-Anberi’s unique ability to work with players. Firstly, he put his faith on Welliton despite of his poor performance last season. Secondly, he also signed a young player in the form of Otabek Shukurov who has been a rock in the midfield and finally boosted defensive responsibilities on Shahin Abdulrahman making him the captain. Al-Anberi knew what was missing and he has delivered accordingly.”
Finally, as a spectator, it has been easy on the eye to watch Sharjah FC play, especially as a fan of the attacking play. And we hope that it continues as it is time that the club returns to its glory days.