x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Bruno's ready for the fight

Metsu is happy with team's preparation and hopes UAE will be put to the test on Friday's friendly against Bahrain.

Bruno Metsu thinks the UAE improved on tour.
Bruno Metsu thinks the UAE improved on tour.

ABU DHABI // Bruno Metsu is hoping Friday's friendly against Bahrain will put his UAE side to the test before the 2010 World Cup qualifier against North Korea. The match against Bahrain at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will be the UAE's final preparation before the opening Group B match of the final Asian qualifying against North Korea at home on Sept 6.

The UAE have just returned from a 23-day training camp in Switzerland and France, where they beat Swiss Super League side Sion FC 1-0 and notched a 2-0 win over a French professional select side. They lost 1-0 to Algeria in another friendly. Metsu was delighted with the intensity shown by his players during the camp. "The most prominent feature of the camp was the seriousness shown by the players," said the Frenchman.

"Their strong commitment contributed towards creating a positive atmosphere and we were able to achieve the desired results. I am particularly delighted with the performance of the younger players in those games. They have been able to prove their worth and should provide a stiff competition for places in the starting line-up. "We did well against FC Sion, but the real test came against Algeria, a squad closest in strength to teams we will be facing in the qualifiers.

"We lost that game, but our players did well against a side who have a number of professionals from the European leagues. "Now we are looking forward to a strong game against Bahrain. They have a lot of experience and have also qualified for the final round. The match should give us an opportunity to test the side chosen for the game against North Korea." The only negative from the tour of Europe, according to Metsu, was the injury to veteran defender Basheer Saeed, who fractured a hand in the game against Algeria.

The UAE coach is, however, confident Saeed will be available for the game against North Korea, adding: "We have seen a number of players take the field with similar injuries. However, we will not take a chance if it means aggravating his injury." Metsu is also worried about the injury to Haidar Alo Ali, who did not take part in any of the friendly games but trained regularly with the team. "We will not be playing him against Bahrain. We want him to be ready for North Korea," Metsu said.