Favourable draw for UAE in 2011 Asian Cup

The United Arab Emirates have had a favourable draw in their qualifying group for the 2011 Asian Cup.

Bruno Metsu's side will face Uzbekistan, India and Malaysia in Group C.
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ABU DHABI // Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Football Association, felt his team has to guard against complacency after being drawn alongside Uzbekistan, Malaysia and India in the 2011 Asian Cup. The Central Asian side is the strongest in the group with the UAE, but that is the case in all five pools with two strong teams pitted against a couple of comparatively weaker nations. "I am not particularly nervous with the results of the draw," said Rumaithi. "The draw makes it seem like we are in an easy group but we need to take all games and every team seriously. We can't forget our history with India. "Even Malaysia could be a potential threat. We need to place the same level of effort and concentration in this competition that we have for the world cup qualifiers. "We need to work hard and learn from the mistakes that we made against Syria in which we let slip many chances and could have influences the results of the game but didn't. "Over-confidence can lead to great loss so we need to study each team and concentrate hard on each game. No one is to be considered as easy." The draw for the final qualifying round of AFC Asian Cup 2011 was made at the Aspire Dome in Doha yesterday afternoon. Twenty teams were divided into five groups of four with top two teams from each group qualifying for the tournament proper along with AFC Asian Cup 2007 winners Iraq, runners-up Saudi Arabia, third-placed South Korea, hosts Qatar and the champions of the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 and 2010. Rashid Ali al Zaabi, a member of the executive committee of the AGCC football committee and head of the beach soccer committee, believes it is a favourable draw. "We were expecting Group C - it was just a feeling," he said. "The group is not an easy one. We are glad to be away from Japan, Australia and China which are known to be tough. With that said I feel at ease with the group that we are in. Uzbekistan are known as a strong team but I feel that we are able to take them on. "Khalid bin Faris, the head of the technical and development committee, and the coach Bruno Metsu have worked well in preparing for the Asian Cup and the World Cup qualifiers. They will know what to do to ensure that we are capable to handle what comes our way. "I think we are capable to play at a good level and hopefully we will make out of the group and proceed." Abdullah Hassan, manager of the UAE national team, added, "We can't say that the group is an easy one but it is balanced, Perhaps we can consider ourselves one of the top two with Uzbekistan, who are known to be strong, but we shouldn't underestimate India and Malaysia." Yousuf al Serkal, former chief of the UAE FA, was also cautious. He said: "We are in a good group, but I warn the team from taking it too lightly. Football is full of surprises. We need to be prepared and to train well and also to be prepared emotionally." THE DRAW Group A: Japan; Bahrain; Hong Kong; Yemen Group B: Australia, Indonesia, Oman, Kuwait Group C: Uzbekistan; UAE; Malaysia; India Group D: Vietam; China; Syria; Lebanon Group E: Iran; Thailand; Jordan; Singapore @Email:apassela@thenational.ae Translations by Fatima Al Shamsi and Hessa Al Romaithi