UAE Players Come Under Fire for Gulf Cup Loss

UAE Players Come Under Fire for Gulf Cup Loss
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Published January 7th, 2018 - 20:24 GMT via

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UAE national football team
UAE national football team

Marwan Bin Ghalita, President of the UAE Football Association (UAE FA), has slammed the national team’s senior players for “not giving everything” and ordered a post-mortem into their performance after they lost the Gulf Cup final to Oman in Kuwait on Friday.

Talisman Omar Abdul Rahman wasted the chance to put the game beyond doubt by missing a penalty just before the end of regulation time. The Al Ain midfielder then missed a second penalty with the penultimate kick of the shootout as UAE slid to a 5-4 loss. To get this far, the UAE had only scored one goal in normal time over five matches and even that was a penalty.

It puts their chances of doing well in next year’s hosting of the Asian Cup even more in doubt after already missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

“I demanded a detailed report on the night of the game and there is no player in the team more important than the badge of the Whites,” Bin Ghalita was quoted as saying via a series of tweets on the UAE FA official twitter account on Saturday.

“Courtesy will not benefit the development of the team, and youth is the most important gain in this tournament.

“We have learned many lessons for the 2019 Asian Cup. Some of the experienced players did not give everything they had during the tournament. This is because names alone are not helpful in the big matches.”

Despite not letting someone else take the decisive spot kick after an not-so-confident Omar had already missed his earlier effort, it seems coach Alberto Zaccheroni has been spared the blame.

“Zaccheroni, an expert and thinker, managed to communicate his tactical ideas to the players,” added Bin Galita. “His current goal is to develop the players’ minds and way of thinking.”

The Italian was the third coach to take over last year after Mahdi Ali made way for Edgardo Bauza in March, before Bauza himself left once the Whites’ failure to qualify for the World Cup was confirmed in September. Former Japan Asian Cup winning coach Zaccheroni, who joined in October, is on a 16-month contract up to and including the 2019 Asian Cup.

Meanwhile, domestic football makes a comeback as Al Jazira take on Al Wahda at home in the Arabian Gulf League from 7.45 pm on Monday in a fixture re-arranged from December when Al Jazira were taking part in the Fifa Club World Cup. Defending champions Al Jazira are fifth in the table, nine points behind leaders Al Wasl, and four points off third-placed Al Wahda.

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