Despite the UAE’s disappointing results, the 2013 Fifa Under 17 World Cup has provided all of us with so many lessons. That applies to everyone; the players, the coaches and the management.
Let us not forget that this tournament had the best of the best from around the world in this age group, and we have reaped many benefits from being in such company.
We now know were we stand on the international stage, what our strengths and weaknesses are. Our experience means we can better prepare our teams in the future. We have seen many teams with imposing physical strength, skill and excellent tactics and our players can learn from that.
Competitions like this are not just about getting results, either. At this level, it is about preparing the players at an individual level, too. They, too, would have learnt big lessons, and we will work with them on many points to ensure they continue to progress in the coming years.
It was their first competition of this importance and they would have experienced many things for the first time. It was clear the pressure affected some. But going forward, I have no doubt that the nervousness and fear that might have affected some of these young players will now disappear, and they can go into in future tournaments with far more confidence.
Regardless of the results and the team’s exit, I am convinced that at least three or four of this UAE squad will go on to become top-class players and will eventually advance to the senior squad. You will be hearing their names more and more, and they will achieve great things in the game.
The results were disappointing but the boys are not depressed. They will continue to work hard and advance, and their progress will be to the benefit of Emirati football.
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