‘Awana will be brought back’

DUBAI — For the newly appointed UAE manager-coach Dr Abdulla Misfer, Bani Yas forward Zeyab Awana will be on the top of his 24-player shortlist which will carry the country’s hopes in the remaining part of their campaign to secure one of the two berths reserved for Group B in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2011, 11:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:17 AM

“I don’t know what was the reason behind the decision of the outgoing Slovenian coach Srecko Katanec to drop Awana from the squad and I don’t want to comment on his reaction to punish the player,” Misfer told Khaleej Times at the UAEFA office in Dubai on Wednesday.

Speaking to newsmen about his future plans to help the situation after their heartbreaking two defeats at the hands of Kuwait and Lebanon in the qualifiers, Misfer said the time factor will not favour any move to carry out big changes in Katanec’s short list. “I don’t promise anything except that we will work hard to make amendments.

“The real challenge lies in how to work on the problems which led to the unexpectedly disappointing results. My immediate concern is to see the players physically fit, tactically mature and mentally sharp ahead of the home and away clashes against South Korea.

“We are starting four points off the pace behind South Korea and Kuwait and to catch up, the players need to improve over their recent form,” he said.

Misfer said they will start with an internal camp from September 25 to 29 and they may possibly play a friendly on the final day before they head for China on October 1.

“We will play a warm up against China on October 6 and head for Seoul two days later to take on South Korea on October 11,” he said.

“This game is very crucial for our campaign before we line up against the same opponents in the home clash.

“Our preparations will target the 12 points of the remaining four games as this is the only way to improve our chances in the competition,” he clarified. Regarding the alleged differences between the players and Katanec, Misfer said he has no idea about that.

“I don’t know too much about the nature of the relationship which linked Katanec to the players or the factors which governed his attitudes towards them, and I have no plans to dig deep in order to find out,” he added.

“In all cases, I know very well most of the players since they were playing for the junior and youth national teams. Also, we know each other as citizens of the same nation and have the same way of thinking,” he said.

Meanwhile, Misfer thanked the FA for promoting the national coaches and trusting them to shoulder the national responsibility at this crucial stage.

“I would like to thank Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Honourary President of the UAEFA, Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAEFA and his board members for their confidence and hopefully I we will live up to the expectations,” he said.


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