Hamdan Al Kamali is expected to return from injury to captain the UAE Olympic team on Sunday night when they face Iraq in Al Ain in a qualifier for the 2012 London Games.
The Al Wahda defender sat out his side's scoreless result with Uzbekistan on Wednesday, but Mahdi Ali, the coach, is hopeful he will be passed fit for Sunday night's game. "Hamdan is the captain and key player in the team," Ali said.
"He has participated in all three training sessions after the game against Uzbekistan but he will still have to pass a fitness test. He is not only a good leader but brings a lot of experience and confidence to the team."
The UAE are on two points in their group, along with Australia, who play Uzbekistan, the group leaders with four points, on Sunday.
Iraq, who lost their opener to Uzbekistan 2-0, shared a point with Australia in a 0-0 draw on Wednesday. "This pool is very tightly grouped," Ali said. "It just goes to show how close the levels of each team in this group are. But I am still confident of our chances despite the two draws.
"The positives we can take from these two [previous] games are that we created more scoring opportunities. Of course, we didn't finish, but I think with a bit of luck, we may be able to score against Iraq."
The UAE's strikers have come under fire after failing to score in the competition. Ali Mabkhout wasted two glaring chances against Uzbekistan and Ahmed Khalil has been out of sorts. But Ali defended his forwards.
"It happens all the time in football," he said. "We have been working on this area and hopeful we can end the goal drought. Sometimes, however good you are in front of the goal, you need some good fortune to go with it. I am happy as long as we continue to create the chances and the goals will come."