The UAE national team will begin preparations for a packed 2023 with a training camp in September.
The national team, who last month missed out on qualifying for this year’s Fifa World Cup, are expected to convene for an external get-together in Europe. The UAE will look to play a selection of friendly matches during the camp, with Paraguay mooted as a possible first opponent, potentially on September 23.
Manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena will be keen to lock down as much time with his players ahead of a busy first half to next year, which begins with the Arab Gulf Cup in Iraq in January. The UAE will then compete as hosts in the West Asian Football Federation Championship in March and April, before contesting the 2023 Asian Cup next summer. As of yet, the tournament is without a host.
With China withdrawing in May because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian Football Confederation extended until July 15 the deadline to receive expressions of interest to stage the continent’s premier competition. Japan and South Korea are believed to be frontrunners to host.
Meanwhile, Arruabarrena and staff are said to be spending the next few weeks travelling around the Adnoc Pro League clubs’ pre-season camps in Europe, as they put together preparations for the September gathering.
The Argentine, appointed in February as successor to Bert van Marwijk, has already introduced a number of younger players into the national team set-up. Last month, the UAE’s hopes disappeared of reaching a second World Cup in the country’s history when they lost their continental play-off with Australia. The national team were beaten 2-1 in Qatar.
Arruabarrena’s contract runs through until the Asian Cup, where the UAE will be looking to build on their run to the semi-finals, on home soil, in 2019. They are two-time winners of the Arabian Gulf Cup – 2007 and 2013 – although exited the most recent tournament, in 2019, at the group stage. The 25th edition of the event is scheduled for Iraq from January 6-19. Iraq lasted hosted in 1979.
The UAE are planning another training camp in November, in the lead-up to the Qatar World Cup.