‘UAE is focused ahead of HK match’

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‘UAE is focused ahead of HK match’

Khamis Esmail says there will be no let-up whatsoever when the UAE national team take on Hong Kong in a crunch Asian Cup qualifier next month.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Thu 19 Sep 2013, 9:50 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:09 AM

Mahdi Ali’s Whites are currently on a wondrous 13-match winning streak stretching back 11 months ago to a 2-2 draw with Uzbekistan last October.

Khamis Esmail has ruled out the complancency factor. — KT photo by Leslie PableoThey’ve claimed the Gulf and OSN Cups along the way and complacency can sometimes creep up on successful sportspeople when everything is going right and supposed challenges suddenly become ‘easy.’

However, Al Jazira midfielder Esmail is adamant this young group of players are too focused and united to be derailed from qualifying for Australia in 2015.

“Winning the Gulf Cup and OSN Cup has definitely given us a lot of motivation to keep going and try to achieve even bigger and better things,” the adidas ambassador for the Arabian Gulf League, 24, told Khaleej Times.

The UAE lead Group E by two points ahead of second-placed Hong Kong, with Uzbekistan and Vietnam back in third and fourth respectively.

Two more victories over their next opponents in their upcoming double-header then would leave them very handily positioned and on the verge of qualifying as the top-ranked team in their pool.

Esmail nonetheless isn’t prepared to look too far ahead, insisting their 100 per cent record is of little significance as things stand.

“Nothing really ends until it is actually done and dusted,” he added. “We’ve thankfully won two games with another four matches coming up. Our focus is on achieving our goals and excelling in these Asian qualifiers and, hopefully, the best is yet to come. All of our four remaining games are crucial. We have to win each and every one of them so that we’re in a very good standing and the morale of the team is high.”

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