Amoory backs UAE team to scale new heights in AFC Asian Cup
Omar is hopeful that Mabkhout & Co will carry on the winning run.
Abu Dhabi - Defender Juma has recovered well from his injury suffered against Australia
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:12 PM
Last updated: Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:17 PM
UAE talisman Omar Abdulrahman was ruled out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 due to injury but the playmaker has been always present as the 'Whites' shadow from the stands.
Omar, the UAE's pride and Asia's best player, tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing in Saudi Arabia last October and is still recovering.
The friendlies prior to the Asian Cup and the first three group games against Bahrain, India and Thailand showed how sorely the UAE missed Omar's services. Striker Ali Mabkhout didn't get his regular feed of pinpoint crosses into the box, there was lack of cohesion in midfield and team a looked a disjointed lot in the absence of the charismatic 'Amoory'.
Coach Alberto Zaccheroni had to carry out a major revamp of midfield and attack to compensate for his absence. However, the UAE players have been excellent so far. They have tamed Kyrgyzstan and defending Cup champion Australia en route to the semis as Omar continues to disseminate his infectious energy from the stands.
Omar is hopeful that Mabkhout & Co will carry on the winning run and hit new heights in the tournament.
"I am very happy with the performance. The players are improving as the tournament has progressed. They have raised their levels with each game. I expect them to put a better performance now, qualify for the finals and lift the cup," he told UAE FA.
Omar promised to continue to encourage the players from the stands.
"It's hard for a footballer to be on the sidelines as his teammates work hard on the pitch. It's not easy to just watch a game knowing that you cannot play any part to help your country. Even as I feel sad about my absence from the pitch, I am happy with the progress made by the players," Omar added.
After the 1-0 win over Australia, Omar was seen having lengthy chat with defender Ismail Ahmed who appreciated the awesome support the players are receiving from all corners.
"Our wise leaders are the main reason for all our achievements. I thank the strong support from our fans. They have been an important factor in all our results so far. I hope to win the next matches and fulfil the ambitions of our supporters," Ismail Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, defender Fares Juma has recovered well from his injury suffered against Australia.
"We are ready to make all sacrifice to uphold the reputation of the country and live up to the expectations of our loyal fans," Juma added.
Come Tuesday, Omar Abdulrahman and thousands of loyal fans will rally behind the UAE as they take on Qatar in semifinal at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.