x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

France-bound Hamdan Al Kamali happy with UAE's Olympic win

After excusing himself from Ligue 1 duties, coach Mahdi Ali excluded him from the team that won 1-0 against Australia last night. Audio interview

The team are now playing for the final match against Uzbekistan.
The team are now playing for the final match against Uzbekistan.

ABU DHABI // After being left out from the Olympic team's line-up against Australia, Hamdan Al Kamali returns to France this morning with the hope of winning a place in the Lyon side in Ligue 1 against Nice on Sunday.

The 22-year-old defender was given time off by his French club to represent his country in the qualifier for London 2012, but after having trained with the team for two days, Mahdi Ali, the UAE Olympic team coach, excluded him from the team that won 1-0 at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium last night.

"It was up to the coach to decide if I warranted a place in the line-up but the important thing was we won and moved closer to realise one of our dreams of playing in the Olympics for the first time," Al Kamali said after the game.

Obviously I am a bit disappointed I didn't get an opportunity to play but the joy of winning far outweighs this disappointment.

"This was an important result for us and my wish is we now top the group to earn a direct qualification to the Summer Olympics."

Al Kamali, who was seeking permission to travel to France to negotiate the deal with Lyon last month, was not considered for selection when the UAE travelled to Qatar for their away match with Iraq, which they won 1-0.

The Al Wahda defender later completed a loan move to the French club, who released him for the Australia game.

Having spent the match on the bench, Al Kamali is not sure if he would be granted permission to return to the Olympic team when they play Uzbekistan away in the final qualifying match on March 14.

"I wouldn't know if I would get the opportunity to return if Lyon felt that I wouldn't be in the line-up," he said. "I am hoping they would allow me to return to national duty should they need me. It was indeed nice to be back with my teammates and celebrate this important win though."

apassela@thenational.ae