x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kamali sees the positive in defeat

The UAE Under 20 side suffered a third successive defeat in their preparations for the World Cup in Egypt but the captain, Hamdan al Kamali, refused to press the panic button.

The UAE Under 20 side suffered a third successive defeat in their preparations for the World Cup in Egypt but the captain, Hamdan al Kamali, refused to press the panic button. Kamali said there was no reason to be anxious by the side's alarming slump after they lost 3-1 to Ivory Coast in Antalya on Wednesday. "I don't think these defeats will cause any anxiety in the camp," he said. "We just have to make the most of the experience from these matches and work towards the World Cup.

"The defeats show we still have a lot of things to work on. Before going to the Asian Cup also we lost the friendly games, but were able to take our lessons from them and win the title without losing a match. "I certainly don't mind if we can repeat that at the World Cup. To lose and find mistakes is better than to win without any papers to review." The UAE begin their campaign on September 27 by taking on South Africa in Alexandria and all efforts are being made to mobilise as much as support as possible at the two venues, Cairo being the other.

Thousands of fans could back their team for free after Sheikh Saeed bin Zayed Al Nahyan pledged to cover the transport and accommodation costs. Flights have been chartered to leave Abu Dhabi and Sharjah to allow Emirati fans to follow their country's campaign, a move appreciated by the coach Mahdi Ali. "I think it will be great for us. It will be like playing at home and give a lot of confidence to the players," Ali said. "We certainly need all the support we can get at a tournament like the World Cup."

The General Authority for Youth & Sports Welfare are also working with the UAE Embassy in Cairo to cover costs for more than 10,000 Emirati fans based locally and in Sudan. Offers of support have also arrived from Egyptian clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek. arizvi@thenational.ae