x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE out to lessen fans’ pain after defeat to Brazil

Abdullah Al Shaheen, the UAE assistant coach, speaks to The National during the tournament. This is his third diary entry.

Abdullah Al Shaheen, the UAE assistant coach, will be speaking to The National during the tournament. This is his third diary entry.

We are looking forward to tonight’s match against Slovakia, as the boys are eager to redeem themselves after the two defeats against Honduras and Brazil. Qualification is still a possibility if we get three points and finish third, but regardless of whether we end up progressing or not, we want to put on a performance to make the country proud.

We need to make up for what happened in the last match and show Emirati football in the best possible light, especially to lessen the pain that our fans must have felt after the last match.

We continue to train with high spirits, but in all honesty, injuries have massively disrupted our preparation.

Sadly, it is out of our hands and there is not much we can do about that. But we have lost four major players, the latest being central defender Sultan Fairuz, and his is another serious injury that requires major surgery.

Such disruptions would affect any team, not just our boys. They can have severely negative effects on confidence.

We hope our loyal fans once again stand with us tonight.

We must thank those who have shown their support in the two matches so far. We have not enjoyed good results, but they continue to support us.

This team of young Emiratis are their children, and we need their backing tonight more than ever.

sports@thenational.ae