UAE warned not to take Indonesia lightly in World Cup 2022 qualifier in Dubai
Team manager says side must show respect, despite their opponents losing their opening two matches of the campaign
The UAE have been warned not to treat Indonesia lightly on Thursday as they look to maintain a 100 per cent start to World Cup qualification.
The national team, who have had Bert van Marwijk at the helm since March, take on the Southeast Asians at Al Maktoum Stadium hoping to build upon last month’s opening Group G victory against Malaysia.
It marks an important five days for Van Marwijk's new-look side, with the qualifier against Thailand near Bangkok to come on Tuesday.
Indonesia, ranked 101 places below the UAE, have lost their first two matches this campaign – to Malaysia and Thailand.
Despite that, the UAE must respect fully their opponents, according to team manager Ismail Rashid.
“We have a difficult game, one in which we have to reach six points,” he said. “Indonesia have lost two matches, but that means it won’t be easy. The management are all the time talking to the players, telling them that we have to be ready to play this game.
“Most of the teams who play in Asia have grown up, have improved: [Group G rivals] Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia. Two years ago we beat Malaysia 10-0.
"It is not easy to win against these teams right now, but we talked to the players. We told them ‘You have to be willing, sacrifice for the country. And in the end the result will come.”
Attempting to reach in 2022 only a second World Cup in the country’s history, the UAE know they have to begin well this second round of qualification to lift spirits following their failed bid to reach Russia last year.
Familiar foes Thailand and 2019 Asian Cup quarter-finalists Vietnam await, with next week’s match against coming quick on the heels of Indonesia. Akira Nishino’s side top the group having last month drawn with Vietnam and won convincingly in Jakarta.
That said, the UAE are targeting full points from the next week.
“These two games we have to reach nine points,” Rashid said. “But not by talk, by work. I hope the players understand there is no time between the two games – we have five days. It’s not easy, but we trust the players. We have good confidence to get good results.
“We are talking to the players already. They know what we want. We are working together now for some months so they understand.
"We have enough experienced players that won so many trophies, that made good games in the past under other coaches. So it’s time for them now to show again, to succeed in something.”
Updated: October 9, 2019 07:57 AM