Al Rayyan start afresh with Argentina coach Arruabarrena
Football giants Al Rayyan on Tuesday kick off their pre-season training camp in Austria giving new coach Rodolfo Martin Arruabarrena the chance to finalize his starting line-up ahead of the new season.
Al Rayyan, who were managed by popular Dane Michael Laudrup last season, will be one of the forces in the new football season set to kick off on August 4.
Clearly the next few weeks will be important for coach Arruabarrena as Al Rayyan players huddle for the new season on and off the pitch.
The new coach will take advantage of the pre-season training camp in Austria where the team is scheduled to play friendly matches also.
The club management has underlined their desire to see the club at the top of the QNB Stars League pile when the season ends in March next year.
Al Rayyan have reason to believe they could dominate proceedings in the new season. New signing Saleh Al Yahri will be unveiled officially in the coming days giving more strength to coach Arruaberrna's plans.
However, Al Rayyan will be eager to see star forward Abdulazzaq Hamdallah regain full fitness for the challenges in the new season. Hamdallah was the top-scorer for Al Rayyan last season. Arruabarrena will have the services of Gonzalo Viera of Uruguay and Koh Myong-jin of South Korea.
During the off-season, Al Rayyan strengthened its player roster by signing goalkeeper Fahad Youssef from Al Markhiya. The player will be unveiled officially in the coming days.
Al Rayyan's new Argentinian coach has his task cut out for the new season. Al Rayyan - who finished third behind Al Duhail and Al Sadd last season - would be eyeing a return to the top in the 2018-19 season besides doing well in the 2019 AFC Champions League.
The first challenge for coach Arruabarrena on Qatari soil following the pre-season training camp in Austria will be the Sheikh Jassim Cup on August 1. Al Rayyan will take on Al Duhail at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
A winning start on August 1 would give confidence to new coach Arruabarrena and the Al Rayyan fans.
Following the final of the Sheikh Jassim Cup, Al Rayyan will take on Al Ahli on August 5 in their first match of the new QNB Stars League season.
In a dramatic finish, Al Rayyan raced to the QNB Stars League title with five rounds to spare in March 2016. Al Rayyan management, the players and their fans would be hoping for something similar when the new season takes off in Doha next month.