x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Mahdi Ali optimistic of putting up 'a good show'

Mahdi Ali, the UAE Olympic team coach, has several injury concerns ahead of the 2012 Olympic qualifier against Sri Lanka in March.

DUBAI //Mahdi Ali, the UAE Olympic team coach, is hoping for the quick recovery of some of his key players before he assembles his squad ahead of their 2012 Olympic preliminary round qualifier against Sri Lanka next month.

Mohammed Fawzi and Theyab Awana, who missed the senior team's Asian Cup campaign last month due to injuries, are in Qatar for treatment, while Amer Abdulrahman, Sultan Bargash, Mohammed Kamal, Rashid Issa and Habbush Saleh are also on the injury list.

To add to the coach's concerns, many of his players are not getting enough playing time with their clubs.

Ali must select a squad of players under the age of 23, plus up to three over-age players for the fixture. The Olympic team will assemble for a training camp on March 1 before taking on Sri Lanka on March 8 and 12.

"Sometimes circumstances dictate an entirely different reality to our ambitions," Ali said of the selection process.

"But we have to adapt to every situation because the fans have become accustomed to seeing this team do well, in every competition that we go to, whatever the circumstances and challenges.

"We are already hampered by a number of issues, including the injuries to a number of players and absence of other players from their club's starting line-ups in the league."

"We will also have a few issues with scheduling. Al Jazira will be playing an AFC [Asian] Champions League match on March 1 and Al Wahda on the following day, which means players from these clubs might miss the first three days of training.

"So we will be left with just three days to prepare the team before the first match.

"We will try our best to get the team in shape and put up a good show."