x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE pull out of Arab Cup of Nations after loss of players hits squad

Weakened national team felt it could not 'play honourably' after losing players to Olympic preparations. Sports round-up audio

UAE coach Abdulla Misfir
UAE coach Abdulla Misfir

The UAE have withdrawn from next month's Arab Cup of Nations, citing non-availability of their key players and lack of time to prepare a new squad for the event.

Abdulla Misfir, the UAE coach, had named a depleted squad on Tuesday after eight players made themselves unavailable.

Basheer Saeed, the Al Ahli defender, said he wanted be with his sick father while seven others provided various reasons for pulling out of the conditioning camp in Turkey from Saturday until June 17.

The senior national team was already weakened by the raft of players preparing with the Olympic team for their matches in London this summer with Great Britain, Senegal and Uruguay.

"We regret to reach at this decision," Obaid Al Shamsi, vice president of the Football Association, said.

"We had to come to this conclusion after consultation with our technical committee,"

"We couldn't assemble strong squad because for reasons beyond our control. And we also don't have time to prepare for a big competition. When we play in such an event, we must field a team to play honourably."

apassela@thenational.ae

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