x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mendes targets second round

Marcelo Mendes says his team's main goal in this month's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in France is to earn a second round berth.

Marcelo Mendes is hoping for a place in the second round of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Marcelo Mendes is hoping for a place in the second round of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

ABU DHABI // Marcelo Mendes, the Brazilian coach of the UAE, says his team's main goal in this month's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in France is to earn a second round berth. The team left for a friendly tournament in Egypt yesterday and will spend a week in Milan before heading for the event in Marseille from July 17 to 27. The UAE is pitted against Cameroon, Argentina and Russia. Mendes, who has led the Gulf nation in back to back Asian Championships, is hopeful of a better showing in their second appearance in a final. And he says, "We have done pretty well as a newcomer and to reach the second round will be an achievement.

"I think we are better prepared for this event and the competition in Egypt will be an ideal preparation. I'm not too sure who we meet in this competition, but I know some of the teams in the World Cup in France will be present." Having completed their campaign in Egypt the UAE will play a couple of friendlies with Milan. And Mendes added: "They are one of the best teams in the world and have players contracted from around the world. We had played a couple of friendlies with Oman, and I think this has been the best preparation we have had before the finals.

"We have also watched the oppositions on DVD's. Argentina will be very strong opponents but if we can play to our true potential we can get the better of Cameroon and Russia, with whom we lost 2-0 in a friendly." Mendes felt the real improvement will happen once a national beach soccer league is introduced. And he says, "The idea of a national tournament is very important to me. Currently we have 16 players at training, but we need more."

@Email:apasella@thenational.ae