Courtesy: Gulf NewsUAE intent on qualifying for Futsal World CupCountry aim to secure one of four tickets to Thailand showpiece on offer at AFC Championship in Dubai
by Alaric GomesMay 3, 2012
Dubai: One of the UAE's top Futsal officials believes winning one of the four qualifying spots on offer for this year's Fifa Futsal World Cup in Thailand will be like a dream come true for the country.
"It is the dream of every country to play at a World Cup. The current UAE team is no exception and they are eagerly looking forward to this opportunity by doing well in the AFC Futsal Championship to be held later this month in Dubai," Sarmad Al Zadjaly, chief executive officer and technical director of the UAE Futsal Executive Committee, told Gulf News.
The UAE has been placed in Group A for the AFC Futsal Championship along with Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, while other teams in the fray for the four World Cup spots are multiple Asian champions Iran, Australia, Qatar and South Korea in Group C; Japan, Chinese Taipei, Tajikistan and Lebanon in Group B and Uzbekistan, Indonesia, China and Kuwait in Group D.
"The UAE has been lucky with the draw as we face Turkmenistan first and Kyrgyzstan the next day," Al Zadjaly said.
"Considering that we will win the first two matches, that leaves our encounter against Thailand a mere formality as we would have already qualified to the quarter-finals. And that is when we need to be at our best as one win in the quarter-finals would mean we can make it to the Fifa Futsal World Cup.
"The route looks easy, but we know that the road is tough and long. The UAE squad is in training and I can only hope that they do things as per expectations."
The UAE team has returned home after participating in tournaments in Tunisia and Iran and a training camp in Lebanon.
The squad is now training in Sharjah under the watchful eyes of Brazilian coach Paulo Eduardo De Jesus Pinho [Padu].
Next week, the 14-member squad will leave for Istanbul for a short camp and then return for at least a couple of friendlies against Qatar and Tajikistan before they begin their campaign against Turkmenistan on May 25.
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari