Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Bert van Marwijk names Omar Abdulrahman in UAE squad for 2022 World Cup qualifying opener

National team head to Bahrain for a training camp before travelling to Kuala Lumpur to face Malaysia in their Group G opener

UAE players take part in a training session during a recent camp in Austria. Courtesy UAE FA
UAE players take part in a training session during a recent camp in Austria. Courtesy UAE FA

UAE manager Bert van Marwijk has kept faith with influential Emirati midfielder Omar Abdulrahman by naming him in his 27-player squad for their 2022 World Cup opener against Malaysia.

Abdulrahman missed the Asian Cup, which the UAE hosted at the start of the year after suffering a knee injury while playing for Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal in October.

The 2016 Asian Player of the Year moved to Saudi Arabia last season after a decade at Al Ain, but he has returned to the Arabian Gulf League for the upcoming season after joining Al Jazira on a free transfer.

The UAE squad will travel to Bahrain on Saturday for the penultimate phase of their preparation before facing Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on September 10 for their Group G opener. The national team, seeded first in the group, will also take on Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia during the group phase.

The UAE play two friendly matches during their camp in Bahrain. They face Sri Lanka on August 30 and meet the Dominican Republic the following day before returning to the country.

“The final phase of our preparation will be in Malaysia’s Bukit Jalil stadium from September 4 until the match day,” said Ismail Rashid, the team manager.

“We had the first phase of our preparation in Salzburg from July 13-21, and the technical committee has now got a good idea of the squad that’s being prepared for our first qualifying game.

“We have a lot of experienced players in the squad and we are confident that they are physically and mentally well-prepared for the upcoming qualifying games.

“The first game, as always, is very important. A good result can do a world of good to the confidence of the players.

“The technical staff will give the final touches during the camp in Bahrain and then we are ready to face our first opponent.”

The UAE have entered Asia's 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in the second round. If they win the group or finish as one of the four best runners-up of the eight groups, they advance to the third round, while also booking their place at the 2023 Asian Cup.

Updated: August 21, 2019 04:13 PM

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