x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE U20s ask fans to be patient

The World Cup-bound national youth team have urged fans not to be quick to judge them after the recent defeats in friendly matches.

The World Cup-bound national youth team have urged fans not to be quick to judge them after the recent defeats in friendly matches and stand firmly behind the side as they get ready for Egypt. The "Whites" are training in Turkey for their Under 20 World Cup campaign, but have met with disappointment in the friendly games they have played till now. They have lost to Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, raising concerns among sections of the media and fans alike. Salem Saleh, the Al Wahda striker, is not too worried though, saying the friendly games have been used by the team as an avenue for experimenting and results have not been their paramount objective. "We know that losing games before such an important event is not considered a good thing," said the 18-year-old. "But at the same time, we should not be too worried when the purpose of these games is to experiment, to see the areas where we make mistakes and to work on them. "The management has deliberately picked teams who have done well in the past World Cups. They have done that so we could gain experience against the best sides and be ready for the World Cup. "The defeats have shown areas in which we need to work before our first games against South Africa and we are going to redouble our efforts to achieve that. We are determined to do well in Egypt and achieve our ambitions. "We know the value of the championship and I hope to see the fans come to Egypt to support us. God willing, we will be up to their expectations." The UAE will be playing another friendly game tonight, against Montenegro, and hoping for a better result. They had played their earlier three games in Antalya, but have moved camp since to Istanbul. They will Montenegro again on Tuesday and then take the Galatasaray team on September 18, before leaving for Egypt on September 24. arizvi@thenational.ae