x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Baniyas midfielder Saleh is going to London for a medal

The Olympic team member is eager to find out which sides they will face in the group stages of the Summer Games.

Baniyas Haboush Saleh Habou, in blue, is not worried about whom they face in London.
Baniyas Haboush Saleh Habou, in blue, is not worried about whom they face in London.

ABU DHABI // Haboush Saleh, the Olympic team midfielder, is not worried which teams the UAE will play at the London Games, but the Baniyas player is eager to find out which sides they will face in the group stage.

The draw for the Olympic football competition takes place tonight and Saleh said: "We are and we must be prepared to play any team, but really I am just anxious to know with whom we are drawn when the draw takes place.

"What matters is that we are playing in the first Olympics and that's what we are craving for, to play in the Olympics. I would expect all teams to be strong and all teams coming to win a medal. And so are we."

Saleh scored the winning goal in the 3-2 away win over Uzbekistan which sealed qualification from the group stage.

Salem Al Orafi, the Baniyas assistant coach, believes the UAE have the quality to do well.

"A majority of the UAE players are in the senior national team and they have enough experience to match any team," said Al Orafi, who was the assistant coach of the UAE team at the Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009.

"The draw is of little importance and it is in nobody's control. Everyone looks forward to it because you will know whom you play and then prepare accordingly.

"Sometimes you may even get a bit lucky to avoid some stronger teams but every team must be prepared to play the best teams if you want to reach the medal round at the Olympics."

The UAE earned qualification by topping a Group B that included Uzbekistan, Australia and Iraq.

apassela@thenational.ae

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