Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Hakima Boucetta, left, and Nadine Schtakleff have not had a lot of time working with new coach Hassan Ajenoul.
Hakima Boucetta, left, and Nadine Schtakleff have not had a lot of time working with new coach Hassan Ajenoul.

New UAE women's coach Ajenoui is up for challenge

Hassan Ajenoui has only been in charge for a month, but he says the UAE women's team 'is a pretty good side' and he is 'hopeful of a good result' as they defend their title in the West Asian Women's Football Championship.

ABU DHABI // The national women's team begin their defence of the West Asian Championship title Tuesday as they face Syria in the opening Group B tie at the Sultan bin Zayed stadium.

The side clinched the title in March last year, lifting the trophy with a 1-0 win over Jordan, the previous champions.

Fatima bint Mubarak Al Maleh was the match-winner, scoring the only goal of the game following a fine solo run, but she will be absent from this tournament.

Sarah Hasanain, Hakeema Bu Sitta and Manal Al Hammadi are the only survivors from the championship-winning team, who also have a new coach in Hassan Ajenoui, who has only been in charge for a month.

"Obviously, I would prefer to have more time, yet I took up the job as a challenge," Ajenoui said.

"I can only work with what I have and the time period I have had with them. They are pretty good side, and I am very hopeful of a good result in the competition."

The UAE have been draw in Group B along with Syria, Iran and Lebanon.

"I was briefed on my task before I took up this job," Ajenoui said. "I feel we are in a group from which we can qualify for the knockout phase of the competition.

"However, I would like to take one game at a time."

The Moroccan-born Portuguese, who played for Morocco and later coached their national team in 1995, has had only a couple of friendlies against two boys' Under 14 teams in the lead up to the competition.

"I would have wished I had more time to work with the players but that's the task I had undertaken, and I am pretty confident of the challenge ahead," said Ajenoui, who has a tough act in following Connie Selby, the team's previous Australian coach. Until warm-up matches ahead of the West Asian Championship last year, the team had never played an 11-a-side game, let alone featured in an international tournament, yet won the regional championship at the first attempt.

"The pressure is not unusual," Ajenoui said.

"It is a phenomenon that every team will have to go through, and for this team it is understandably more because they are the champions and playing in front of the home crowd."

In Monday's games, Bahrain defeated Iraq 12-0 and Jordan had few issues in defeating Palestine 8-1.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Floyd Mayweather lands punches on trainer Nate Jones on Tuesday at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas ahead of his May 3 championship unification bout with Marcos Maidana. Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP / April 22, 2014

In pictures: Floyd Mayweather trains for Maidana fight

Images from earlier in the week as Floyd Mayweather trained at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas ahead of his May 3 championship unification fight with Marcos Maidana.

 UAE rugby player Daniel Minks pushes against a Singapore tackler during Wednesday night’s Asian Five Nations Test. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

UAE national rugby team needs to look within to raise standards

While domestic clubs like Jebel Ali Dragons and Abu Dhabi Harlequins find regional success, the UAE national side isn't benefitting from the talent pool in the country, writes Paul Radley.

 Ravindra Jadeja of Chennai Super Kings playing a shot in their Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Jadeja scored 36 runs not out from 33 balls. Pawan Singh / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Chennai Super Kings notch win behind do-everything Jadeja

Images from Wednesday night's Indian Premier League match in Dubai, where Ravindra Jadeja led Chennai Super Kings over Rajasthan Royals.

 Suresh Raina has scored 84 runs in three IPL matches so far this season for Chennai Super Kings. Ravindranatah K / The National

Suresh Raina has always been brightest in Chennai yellow

An enigmatic presence in India's line-up, writes Osman Samiuddin, Suresh Raina is at his freest, his easiest and his best with the IPL's Chennai Super Kings.

 Azzam crew member Luke Parkinson works on the new 65-foot carbon racing yacht during preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race. Courtesy Ian Roman / ADOR

A little calm after the storm for Azzam crew

Azzam skipper Ian Walker writes another monthly update ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race as his crew enjoy a 10-day break after some rough conditions following their delivery from the UK to Portugal.

 Singapore have nearly half the side in home-grown players and prefer not to be reliant on expatriates. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

Asian Five Nations: Singapore ideal model for impatient UAE’s rugby federation

The UAE Rugby Federation are keen for their national team to have such heavy Emirati representation. They have a good template to follow.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National