UAE players listen to coach Bert Van Marwijk during a training session at a preparatory camp in Dubai. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
The UAE football team will take on Jordan in an international friendly as a part of their preparation for the upcoming joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers on Monday.
The UAE’s joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers have already been postponed thrice in the wake of coronavirus and now are slated to be played from June.
A Bert Van Marwijk-led UAE, who are bidding to attempt to advance to the third and final round of qualification for Qatar 2022, have been based in Dubai since Saturday.
Van Marwijk is busy charting out a map for the UAE to qualify for the showpiece event. The UAE need to win all their remaining matches to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
The Asian qualifiers will be held from June 3 in the UAE. The UAE will play Malaysia and Thailand on June 3 and 7 respectively which will be followed by the clashes against Indonesia and Vietnam on June 11 and 15 respectively.
Al Wasl’s Ali Saleh will be absent from the qualifiers as he is nursing an injury. UAE team is heavily relying on the Jordan friendly as it is the last dress rehearsal before the crucial qualifiers.
UAE’s midfielder Ali Salmeen said they are confident ahead of their qualifiers.
“We are ready to play the remaining four matches of the joint Asian qualifiers in all technical, psychological and physical aspects,” said Salmeen.
“After the end of the arduous football season, the focus is now on the national team. Since our situation in the group is not reassuring, and we must fight in order to achieve victory in all matches and qualify for the next stage,” he added.
“We will work and give everything we have in order to please our fans, who are hungry to see the national team in official matches after a long lay-off period due to coronavirus.
The midfielder Abdullah Hamad expressed his happiness on joining the national team for the first time and participating in the joint qualifiers.
“It is the dream of every player to wear the shirt of his country and represent it at all levels,” said Hamad.
“I was thrilled when I got the call up for the national side. It is a milestone in my career to play alongside senior players in the national team,” he added.
An upbeat Pinto said he is excited to be working as the new UAE coach and relishing the challenge of taking the team through to the next stage of the joint qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
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