UAE face big test against Chile

With some of his first-team players missing, a hurriedly assembled UAE squad by coach Srecko Katanec take on World Cup team Chile in an international football friendly at the Zayed Sports City on Saturday night.

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 9 Oct 2010, 11:12 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Dec 2022, 10:02 AM

The Slovenian will be without Hamdan Al Kamali, the Al Wahda defender and Ahmed Khalil, who are part of the UAE Olympic team, currently preparing for the Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China from November 12 to 27. Also, the UAE Football Association has asked Katanec not to pick the Al Wahda players for the Gulf Cup as they are preparing for the FIFA Club World Cup to be held in Abu Dhabi in December.

Despite that, Katanec has gone ahead and picked the inspirational Ismail Matar, Mohammed Al Shehi and Mahmoud Khamis from Al Wahda, in his squad

“I have picked the best available team for now. I had no choice in picking a few players from Al Wahda because they are important in my team. At short notice, I couldn’t find any replacements for them. It is not easy to have a line-up in a short time. But, hopefully, I will have more time when we go into the final camp before Gulf Cup,” Katanec said.

“But this provides an opportunity for others to get into the squad,” he added.

UAE have arranged two international friendlies—against Chile on Saturday and Angola next Tuesday. The friendlies are part of the team’s preparations for the 20th Gulf Cup in Yemen and the AFC Asian Cup finals which will be held in Doha, Qatar, in January, 2011. UAE defeated Kuwait 3-0 in a friendly in September.

Katanec’s squad features Khalid Sabeel, Sultan Bargash Al Minhali, Subait Khater, Yasir Matar and Salem Masoud from Al Jazira, with Fares Juma, Ali Al Wehaibi, Mohammed Abdulrahman, Fawzi Fayez from Al Ain. Bani Yas’ Yousef Jaber is in the squad and so is Ali Rabie from Emirates. Obaid Al Taweela, Mohammed Qassim, Ahmed Khamis and Faisal Khalil make it from Al Ahli.

Meanwhile, Chile, who are ranked 10 in the FIFA World rankings, have a couple of them who featured in the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa. Goalkeeper Luis Marin, defender Roberto Cereceda, midfielder Rodrigo Millar and forward Mark Gonzalez and Esteban Paredes were in the World Cup squad. But the team coached by former Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa, have problems of their own, according to reports.

A journalist from the La Tercera newspaper in Chile said that defender Roberto Cereceda has tested positive for cocaine. The drug test was conducted after the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana match between Colo-Colo and Universitario de Sucre in August and could face a two-year ban.

He also said that five players— Mena, Seymour, Vargas, Abarca and Puch—have returned to Chile following a conflict between the Chilean Football Federation and the club Universidad de Chile these players represent.

Meanwhile, Bielsa’s squad doesn’t feature inspirational playmaker Jorge Valdivia and forward Humberto Suazo. Valdivia played for nine-time UAE League champions Al Ain before moving to Brazilian club Palmeiras this summer. Bielsa is trying out new players for the upcoming Copa America and the World Cup qualifiers.

Chile face Oman in another friendly on Tuesday.

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