Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UAE team broaden horizons

The UAE have strengthened their claim as one of the teams with the best chance of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics after reaching the final of the Asian Games.

The UAE have strengthened their claim as one of the teams with the best chance of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics after reaching the final of the Asian Games.

Mahdi Ali's side went down 1-0 to Japan on Thursday in China, but won accolades in a game they dominated. "You can't take anything away from the players," the Emirati coach said. "They had a great tournament and a great final. It's just that we were not fortunate to win the last game, but we made our mark and earned the respect of all the participating nations.

"Reaching the final itself was a big achievement and their performance will serve as a good trial when we start our preparation for the Olympic qualifiers, which is our next goal," said Ali, who has won two regional titles and a continental prize with the team in the last five years.

The Asian Games silver medal is added to the Olympic team's trophy haul of the Under 16 Gulf Cup in 2006, the U19 Asian Cup in 2008 and the U23 Gulf Cup last August. They also reached the last eight in the U20 World Cup last year.

The team fly home today and four players - Hamdan al Kamali, Mohammed al Shehhi, Saeed al Kathiri and Ali al Hosani - will join Al Wahda in their preparation for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi from December 8 to 18. Srecko Katanec, the national team coach, who is in Yemen with a depleted side in the Gulf Cup, is sure to select many of the Olympic team players for the Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar, from January 7.

The UAE meet Sri Lanka in the two-legged first round of the Olympic qualifying tournament. The away match is on February 23 with the return leg on March 9 at home.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National