UAE squad to camp in Bahrain ahead of qualifiers
The Whites will play friendlies against Sri Lanka and the Dominican Republic
With the joint Asia Zone World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers lurking just around the corner, the UAE National football squad will ramp up preparations by undertaking an eight-day training camp in Bahrain.
UAE coach Bert van Marwijk announced a 27-man squad for the camp on Wednesday, with a clear indication that this will form the core for their opening fixture against Malaysia on September 10.
The squad consists of more or less the same names that had embarked on the first camp in Austria last month, with a few exceptions.
Al Wahda players Mohammed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Barghash and Khalil Al Hammadi have been named in the squad following their AFC Champions League commitments.
Enigmatic playmaker Omar Abdulrahman has again been named in Marwijk's squad. He was called up for the camp in Austria but couldn't attend as he was still recuperating from surgery to his anterior cruciate ligament.
The 27-year-old has since been back in training following his switch from Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal to Al Jazira. 'Amoory' was seen training ahead of Al Jazira's Arabian Gulf Cup fixture against Khor Fakkan.
The camp in Bahrain runs from August 25 to September 1 with two friendlies being penciled in. The Whites will take on Sri Lanka, ranked 200 in the Fifa world rankings, on August 30, before concluding their camp with another friendly against 155th ranked Dominican Republic on August 31.
The squad will return to the UAE before travelling to Kuala Lumpur on September 4. The Whites take on hosts Malaysia at the Bukit Jalil National Stadiumin Kuala Lumpur on September 10.
The UAE have been drawn in Group G along with Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Team manager Ismail Rashid revealed the thinking behind playing against Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic by saying that they wanted to mirror playing against teams who were on the same level as Malaysia. Malaysia are currently ranked 159.
"We are keen on implementing the method and style of play as these are the first two friendlies under Marwijk," said Rashid.
Ali Khaseif, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout, Omar Abdelrahman, Mohammed Al Attas (Al Jazira), Khalid Eisa, Mohammed Shaker, Ahmed Barman, Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Mohammed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Barghash, Khalil Al Hammadi (Al Wahda),
Adel Al Hosani, Al Hassan Saleh, Majed Suroor (Sharjah), Walid Abbas, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai), Habib Al Fardan, Tariq Ahmed, Mohammed Al Akbari (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh, Ali Salmin (Al Wasl), Hassan Al Mahrami (Bani Yas).
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