Yemen target positive result as UAE eye first points in Qatar

Rank outsiders Yemen will be looking to spring a few surprises when they take on two-time winners UAE in the Group B match of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup here today at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

Ranked 141 on the FIFA computer, Yemen will be looking end their winless drought at the prestigious regional championship when they take on new- look UAE side, coached by Dutch great Bert van Marwijk.

Yemen have featured in 27 matches in eight editions, losing 22 of them while drawing five games.

But their coach Sami Hassan Al Hadi, warned Yemen won’t be an easy prey for their other group opponents in the Gulf Cup.

“I am delighted to be back in Doha. We have played some good games in previous Gulf Cup tournaments but we are still looking for our first win,” Al Hadi told a pre-match press conference yesterday.

“We have managed to get some draw results and played some memorable matches. Our goal is to play a high standard of football and achieve the first victory that will delight everyone in our country and bring smiles to their faces,” he said.

The Yemeni coach is taking confidence from the impressive results his team has posted in recent months in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Yemen have won one and drawn two matches so far in their group to have a tally of five points from five matches. The most impressive of the results are the 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia and a 1-0 win against Palestine.

Uzbekistan lead the group followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore with Yemen in the fourth place in the five-team group.

Al Hadi said due to the prevailing civil war in the country no league is taking place but he said the team has performed well in recent tournaments.

“We all hope for positive results. We all know that Yemen league has stopped for a couple of years now, but we have benefited from participating in the West Asian Championship and the Asian (FIFA World Cup) qualifiers and I expect a positive show and this is what we hope. The current team has played 10 games and it is developing,” he said.

The Yemeni coach, however, expects a tough task lays ahead for his team in their group.

“We have played against strong teams in the qualifiers (FIFA World Cup) and in West Asia and we respect everyone. Our group includes Qatar, Iraq and UAE which are strong sides, “ he said.

He is hoping lot of Yemen fans will turn up for their matches and support them.

“We hope we have a big presence of fans and it is a pleasure to play in front of our fans in Qatar”.

Meanwhile, UAE coach Van Marwijk, who took over in March this year, said that his team is fully prepared to kick-start their campaign against Yemen.

“Last week we played with Vietnam (in the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers and 2023 Asian Cup), and then we suddenly knew we had to participate in the 24th Gulf and we worked for a week to prepare for the match and we are ready,” he said yesterday.

Asked if there was any pressure on his team, Marvik, the 66-year-old, who led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final said: “At the beginning of the championship we have no pressure at all. It is true that we learned late about our participation, but we are ready for Yemen and I am not thinking of anything other than taking on Yemen.”

Marvik, who took over as coach after UAE’s disastrous campaign in the Asian Cup where they lost to eventual champions Qatar 4-0 in the semi-finals, has brought a young side to Qatar which is in a transitional phase.

In the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers and 2023 Asian Cup, UAE are struggling having lost two and won an equal number, out of the four matches they have played so far. Regarding the impact of the team’s loss in the twin qualifiers against Vietnam and Thailand, Marvik said: “We played four games in the (FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers and 2023 Asian Cup) qualifiers and I was not satisfied with the way we played against Thailand, but with Vietnam we played well and I am satisfied with the performance of the players and we were not lucky as one of the players got the red card after only 30 minutes.”

“I have full confidence in all the players, my experience will help me deal with this, and I know very well how to deal with these circumstances,” he added.

Speaking about the presence of a large number of young players, Marvik said: “Experiments have shown that induction of new players into the team from time to time have always proved successful and this will work and there are many talents in the UAE league, he added.

Credit to the Peninsula

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