Relegated Sharjah can rise again

Published May 13th, 2012 - 11:44 GMT

So the inevitable has happened, with Sharjah Club slipping down for at least one season to Division One football. Anyone could have seen this coming and coach Abdul Majeed Al Nimr has rightly called for a re-think of the club’s policies by the management.

Since its establishment in 1966 as Al Orouba and later after its merger in 1974 with Al Khaleej, only to be registered under its current status of Sharjah Club in 1978, this club has come a long way.

This is a club that can rightfully boast of so many achievements in its annals. To start with, Sharjah were the first-ever winners of the official UAE Football League way back in 1973-74. Based on that, the club went on to do well and add four more league titles (in 1987, 1989, 1994 and 1996) in a period that can be termed 'the most prosperous part of UAE football’.

No wonder that it was Sharjah who supplied the UAE national squad with no less than nine players during a period when the country qualified for the 1990 Fifa World Cup in Italy.

Among the football fraternity in the country, the club is nicknamed “The King” — this name coming more due to an impressive tally of eight titles in the coveted President’s Cup, with the first one coming in the 1978-79 season and the last one in 2003.

Given such an impressive list of performances, along with history backing the club, there was a definite tinge of sadness for losing Sharjah on Friday night.

No doubt, since their last President’s Cup success, Sharjah had already spent a season before in the lower division. So one can imagine how such a slight will hurt Sharjah Club’s group of supporters, starting with its chairman Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani. And herein may lie the answer to Sharjah Club’s problems.

Shaikh Abdullah has a keen and astute sense of achievement. Be it as Chairman of the Sharjah International Airport or the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, or the Department of Civil Aviation in Sharjah, he has shown what it needs to be successful. So a genuine football fan can only hope that Shaikh Abdullah comes along and leaves his mark in helping Sharjah make a turnaround and return to the top rung of UAE football.

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