x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Saad unfazed by UAE opponents

Bakhit Saad, the national team captain, is not worried about battling it out with Portugal and Uruguay for the two quarter-final spots from their group at the Beach Soccer World Cup.

DUBAI // Bakhit Saad, the national team captain, is not worried about battling it out with Portugal and Uruguay for the two quarter-final spots from their group at the Beach Soccer World Cup. The tournament kicks-off on November 16, at a purpose-built 5,000- seater stadium on Umm Sequim beach, with Switzerland meeting the second Asian qualifier in the opening game at 1.30pm. Six hours later the UAE will launch their campaign against Portugal. The hosts will then meet Solomon Islands next day before facing off against Uruguay in their final Group A game on November 18, which could decide the second quarter-final berth from the pool.

"People may think we might struggle because we are in a strong group with Portugal and Uruguay," said Saad. "But, fortunately, in beach soccer you cannot predict anything: there are always some surprises in every tournament. "So we are not worried. We have been training well and we are in good shape. We went to Brazil for a camp and played a tournament in Portugal. After Ramadan we will be going for a camp in Spain.

"So I believe we are ready for the tournament. We will be facing strong sides, but we are confident. "When you go the World Cup, you have to face the strong teams. It's normal. You cannot just play the average sides. "It is a strong group, but we will work hard to reach the quarter-finals. That is first goal, and we will see from there." arizvi@thenational.ae