UAE a new-look team with serious intent

The United Arab Emirates will be well-oiled when they face Malaysia in a pre-World Cup Group G match in Dubai on Oct 8.

UAE’s 28-member squad will be in Serbia from tomorrow to Aug 25 to prepare for their qualifying campaign, under new coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

The Middle East team are determined to muscle up and make it count in Group G.

They are fourth in the group, behind Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, with six points after four matches.

The other teams have played five matches compared to UAE’s four.

Pinto has also included two naturalised players in Brazil-born striker Fabio de Lima and Argentina-born forward Sebastian Tigali for the camp in Serbia.

Brazilian-born naturalised forward Caio Canedo has been left out as he is recovering from Covid-19.

“The UAE are serious about qualifying for the next stage. They badly need positive results in the remaining matches to make it count.

“They have a new-look team, and we need to be prepared when we face them.

” As a coach, I will do my best to get more information on Pinto’s squad so that I can prepare my players accordingly for the game.

“It is important, however, for our players to step up when the M-League restarts later this month.

“They need to be well-conditioned before the international window reopens in October.”

Cheng Hoe said Pinto has a formidable team for the remaining games.

“The UAE have also lined up friendly matches against Jordan and Tajikistan next month.

“I believe they will be a different side when the pre-World Cup resumes,” said Cheng Hoe, adding that he will likely hold his national camp after the conclusion of the Super
League and Premier League on Sept 23.

After the match against the UAE, Harimau Malaya will take on Vietnam on Oct 17, followed by their final group match against Thailand on Nov 17.

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