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Omar Abdulrahman called up for UAE camp

Manama: United Arab Emirates head coach Bert van Marwijk has announced his 27-player preliminary squad list ahead of their Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, which includes talismanic midfielder Omar Abdulrahman. 

Abdulrahman has been out of national team action after suffering a knee injury last October that saw him miss out on the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, where UAE ended their campaign in the semi-finals.

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Van Marwijk will be counting on the 28-year-old playmaker to power his side to an opening Group G win against Malaysia, who they play in Kuala Lumpur on September 10.

Goalscorers Ali Ahmed Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil Junaibi are also among the list of 27 players, who will all come together on Sunday for a one-week training camp in Bahrain, before playing two friendly matches against Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic on August 30 and 31 respectively.

UAE found themselves in a Southeast Asian-centric Group G that also includes Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, but team manager Ismail Rashid emphasised that a winning start will serve them in good stead.

“The final phase of our preparation will be in Malaysia’s National Stadium from September 4 until the match day,” said Rashid.

“We had the first phase of our preparation in Salzburg from July 13 to 21, and the technical committee has now got a good idea of the squad that’s being prepared for our first qualifying game."

“We have a lot of experienced players in the squad and we are confident that they are physically and mentally well-prepared for the upcoming qualifying games.

“The first game, as always, is very important. A good result can do a world of good to the confidence of the players.

“The technical staff will give the final touches during the camp in Bahrain and then we are ready to face our first opponent.”

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