x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

TV blackout as tournament looms

The UAE coach Dominique Bathenay demands a TV blackout when he tries out his strongest line-up tonight against Kuwait at the Al Wasl Stadium.

The UAE coach Dominique Bathenay has demanded a TV blackout when he tries out his strongest line-up tonight against Kuwait at the Al Wasl Stadium. The match has been moved from Al Nasr's Al Maktoum Stadium to the neighbouring Al Wasl as the coach felt it was a better pitch that will be less affected by the night-time dew. Bathenay is set to bring back his influential striker Ismail Matar, the midfielder Abdulraheem Jumaa and the keeper Majed Nasser to the side that drew with Iraq 2-2 at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium on Saturday.

The coach felt live coverage on the game would expose his team's strategy to the opposing sides and also bring the fans back to the stadium. Support has been dwindling at every game and on Sunday night in Al Ain, the Iraqi fans outnumbered the home fans. Meanwhile, Vietnam awoke yesterday after a long night of celebrations following their first international title victory. Hundreds of thousands of revellers flooded downtown Hanoi waving flags, banging pots and pans, cheering wildly and chanting "Vietnam is invincible!" for hours after the national team equalised in the final seconds of a 1-1 draw with Thailand to clinch the Southeast Asian Championship 3-2 on aggregate.

apassela@thenational.ae