DUBAI // If you are a regular at the Al Mamzar Beach Park, watching the UAE beach soccer team in training, you must be familiar with the way Bakhit Saad plays. Heavily built yet remarkably nimble on his feet, the UAE captain can often be seen letting the ball bounce off his chest before he launches one of those striking bicycle kicks into the net. Saad's ability and physique have led his coach, Marcelo Mendes, to believe that he has the talent to force his way into the best teams.
The player, however, chooses to focus on the team's preparations for the Beach World Cup to held in Dubai in November, after which he intends to retire. "I am thinking of finishing my career at this World Cup," he said. "I want to be in good shape and at a good level, and help my team achieve good results. "We are completely focused on the tournament. With every game, we are learning something new. We hope to keep improving and reaching higher levels.
"So our prospects at the World Cup will depend on our preparations. Hopefully, we will have a good tournament at home, with the support of the local fans." The UAE kickstarted their preparations with a 3-1 win over Oman on Wednesday, thanks to the efforts of Haidar Abbas and Ali Karim. "I am very happy about this result," he said. "Oman are a strong side. They are the winners of the gold medal at the Olympics Beach Soccer in Bali. So it is good to beat them and start our preparations on a winning note.
"We still have a long way to go before we reach the levels we aspire to be at," he added though. Saad and Co will travel to Brazil next week for a training camp after which they will play the national team. And Saad hopes the trip to the home of beach soccer will set his side on the right path. "When you are playing the world champions, you can learn a lot, gain plenty of experience." firstname.lastname@example.org