x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE hockey team on semi-finals path despite lack of ice time

Despite a lack of practice time prior to the tournament, the UAE national team is looking to book a place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup of Asia.

The UAE national team has not let a lack of practice time slow their ascent at the Challenge Cup of Asia as they draw closer to a semi-final berth.
The UAE national team has not let a lack of practice time slow their ascent at the Challenge Cup of Asia as they draw closer to a semi-final berth.

The UAE will be seeking to make it three wins out of three on Thursday and guarantee their place in the semi-finals of Ice hockey's Challenge Cup of Asia as group winners.

Winners in 2009 and runners-up the past two years, UAE meet Chinese Taipei in Dehradun, India knowing a victory will seal top spot on Group A and set up a meeting with either Macau or India from the other group in the semi-final.

The UAE will be in confident mood. They beat Thailand, 4-3, in the opening match and then thrashed Kuwait, 6-0, Tuesday.

Saeed Al Nuaimi, with a brace, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Ali Suroor, Juma Al Dhaheri and Suhail Al Mehairi were all on target.

"Thailand was the toughest game for us," said Mohammed Aref Al Jachi, the UAE defender. "It was the toughest game because they were the strongest team in the group and we had come without much practice as we couldn't get ice time before we left Abu Dhabi.

"We couldn't train for the last five days in Abu Dhabi because we didn't have ice time. It became a big issue as we couldn't train more at the match venue here for the same reason. I think we have done pretty well to win both games. Obviously, to get Thailand out of the way first was some relief. It was a very tight game and we went into that game without doing much skating.

"We definitely improved our levels in the second game and hopefully take this momentum forward until the final."

 

apassela@thenational.ae