UAE lads face FC Sion today

DUBAI — The UAE Olympic national team take on Swiss outfit FC Sion in their first test of the current European tour on Thursday.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 12:20 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:57 PM

The match will begin at 6.30pm UAE time.

The UAE head coach Mahdi Ali had shortlisted 23 players to carry the country’s hopes in the football competition of the 2012 London Games.

The boys in white have started the first stage of their preparations with a two-day internal training session in Dubai before they left for Switzerland on June 17.

Recent reports from the training camp suggested that the UAE players are working well and everything is going according to plan.

According to close sources to the UAE head coach Mahdi Ali, the first test is very crucial for his future plans, and he would like to find out the level of readiness that has been reached by the players.

Ali said: “The presence of experienced players, including the overage trio Ismail Matar, Ali Khusaif and Ismail Al Hammadi gives the team a very big boost.”

UAE will play their second warm up game on July 1 against Ukrainian club Shakhtar before they head for neighbouring Austria to start the second stage of the tour which continues till July 21 after which they will head for Manchester to line up against Uruguay in the Group A opener of the 2012 London Games at the Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Italian midfielder Gennaro Gattuso will play for the Swiss side Sion in today’s friendly against UAE team.

The former AC Milan midfielder has signed a two-year contract to join FC Sion.

Gattuso, 34, left Milan at the end of the season following 13 years at the San Siro side.

The Italian star justified his move by saying: “It’s not a question of money. One of the reasons why I chose FC Sion is because it’s close to home.

“I’ve come here to FC Sion to win and to compete with FC Basel for the title. Sion’s president has promised that we will have a competitive squad, and so far it seems like it.”

UAE Squad

Saud Saeed, Rashid Eisa (Al Wasl); Khalid Eisa, Khamis Esmail, Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira); Ali Al Ameri, Habib Al Fardan (Al Nasr); Sa’ad Surour, Abdul Aziz Haikal, Ahmad Khalil (Al Ahli); Mohammad Ahmad (Al Shabab), Abdul Aziz Sanqoor (Sharjah); Omar Abdul Rahman, Mohammed Ahmed, Dawood Sulieman (Al Ain); Amer Abdul Rahman, Mohammad Fawzi, Haboush Saleh, Ahmad Ali, Mohammad Jaber (Bani Yas); Hamdan Al Kamali (Lyon).

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