x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

UAE team in Asian Cup draw

Ismail Rashid, director of the UAE's senior national team, says the 'Whites' will be ready for any side that tonight's 2011 Asian Cup draw puts in their path.

Ismail Rashid, director of the UAE's senior national team, says the 'Whites' will be ready for any side that tonight's 2011 Asian Cup draw puts in their path. The draw for the Finals, to be held in Qatar from January 7-29, will be held in Doha tonight with 16 teams being divided into four groups. Four teams - Qatar, by virtue of being the hosts, Iraq, the defending champions, Saudi Arabia, the losing finalists in 2007, and South Korea, who finished third in the last tournament -will be pulled out of the bag first, while the other 12 teams have been divided into three lots. Japan, Australia, Iran and Uzbekistan will be drawn next, while the UAE, China, Bahrain and Jordan will be in the third lot. Syria, Kuwait, India and North Korea will be the final names to be pulled out. "We have been preparing ourselves to meet any team," said Rashid, who will be in Doha along with Srecko Katanec, the team head coach, to find out who UAE will face in the group stages of the tournament. "At such major events, you have to be ready to play against any side and we hope to do just that, given the value of the championship and the fact that we will be drawn from the third lot. "That position is not a good reflection of UAE football, so we will take the tournament as a challenge to achieve good results and contribute towards raising the status of UAE football in the coming period. "We are not afraid of any team and we have planned our preparations for the tournament, which starts with the camp in Austria from May 21. We will play two friendly matches there, against Moldova and Algeria. There will be more camps and friendly matches leading up to the tournament. So I believe we will be ready to challenge the best when we leave for Qatar." arizvi@thenational.ae