x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Batheney is staying faithful

The new coach sticks with tried and tested players as he picks first squad to face Japan.

DUBAI // Dominique Batheney, the new UAE national team coach, has named his first squad, which will take on Japan in a friendly on Oct 9. The core of the team remains the same, with a couple of forced changes as Hilal Saeed and Subait Khater are unavailable for the 2010 World Cup qualifier against South Korea.

Adel Abdulaziz and Ahmed Mubarak, who were both members of the UAE side who lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, have failed to find a place in the squad for the match in Niigata. The team will gather on Oct 5 and leave for Japan early next day, where they will train and play the friendly before leaving for Seoul for their third match of the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, on Oct 15 against South Korea.

Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura has been called up by Japan coach Takeshi Okada for next month's friendly against the UAE and the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. Nakamura is one of three European-based players to have been included in the 26-man squad, along with Eintracht Frankfurt's Junichi Inamoto and Makoto Hasebe of Wolfsburg.