DUBAI // The UAE pair of Jamal Saif and Mohammed Rashid have failed in their bid to reach the knockout stages of the Footvolley World Cup after losing all three of their group matches on Friday.
Drawn in Group G alongside Uruguay, Norway and Spain, the hosts started their campaign with a 7-21 defeat against the Spaniards at The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Saif and Rashid then lost to Norway by an identical margin before completing their engagements with a 21-13 defeat to Uruguay.
"I am really disappointed because we have let the UAE down," said Saif, who helped bring the tournament to the UAE.
"I don't know what happened. We had been doing really well in the training, but we just could not find any rhythm in the matches.
"All our hard work and preparations have come to nothing. We just could not get our game going. It was a really a bad day for us and I would like to apologise to our fans."
Saif and Rashid have participated in many international tournaments, the most recent being a 28-team competition in the Brazilian city of Salvador.
Footvolley is a combination of football and beach volleyball, but without the use of hands.
From a modest start at Rio de Janeiro's famous Copacabana beach in 1965, the game has grown in popularity around the globe.
It has yet to catch the fancy of the masses in the UAE, though.
Saif was hoping the World Cup and a good show by the Emirati duo would help raise the appeal of the sport.
"It is an exciting sport to watch and play," Saif said. "It is a great exercise as well. With our beaches and people from all over the world living here, I believe this sport will catch on. The World Cup should really help us in promoting it."
The World Cup has attracted 33 teams for the men's competition, with five of them representing multiple champions Brazil. The women's event has four Brazilian pairs competing. The quarter- and semi-finals will be held today, starting from 4pm, while the final is scheduled for tomorrow evening.