Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

Bert van Marwijk to assemble UAE squad for summer training camp in Europe

National team will begin their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in September

UAE manager Bert Van Marwijk has been in the Emirates to watch Arabian Gulf League and Asian Champions League matches. Pawan Singh / The National
UAE manager Bert Van Marwijk has been in the Emirates to watch Arabian Gulf League and Asian Champions League matches. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE will kick off preparations for World Cup 2022 qualification with a training camp in Europe this summer.

The national team, currently ranked sixth in Asia and 67th overall in the Fifa standings, are scheduled to gather from July 13-22, likely in Austria, in what would be their first get-together since Bert van Marwijk’s appointment as manager.

The UAE will then meet for another camp between August 24 and September 10, most probably in the Emirates. That period will include the opening two matches of the second round of World Cup qualification, on September 5 and 10. The draw - as a seeded team, the UAE enter at Round 2 - takes place on July 17.

Appointed in March as Alberto Zaccheroni’s permanent successor, Van Marwijk has been charged with guiding the UAE to the Qatar World Cup in three years’ time. The Emirates have only once previously reached the global finals, in 1990.

However, Van Marwijk knows well what is required having led Saudi Arabia to last summer’s World Cup – the country’s first appearance at the tournament in 12 years. He departed before the finals, but went on to manage Australia in Russia.

The Football Association has given Van Marwijk a three-year contract, although the agreement is dependent on meeting a number of targets in the interim, beginning with advancing from their first stage of qualification.

Speaking at his official introduction in March, Van Marwijk said: “I’m here for only one thing, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup. It takes a long time and the first thing we have to deal with is the first qualification round. That’s why I’m here.

“I know it’s not easy, but the Saudis and the UAE are about the same level. With the Saudis we qualified for Russia, so we will do really everything to go to Qatar in 2022.”

Van Marwijk, who in 2010 masterminded the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup final, is currently in the UAE, as he and his technical staff have attended the closing rounds of the 2018/19 domestic season, as well Asian Champions League matches involving the three Emirati participants.

On Tuesday, he was present at the Zabeel Stadium to watch Al Wasl lose 5-1 to Iraq's Al Zawraa. Wasl and Al Ain have failed to make the knockout stages, with Al Wahda the UAE’s only representative to make it to the last 16.

Updated: May 22, 2019 06:27 PM

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