The UAE national team have begun life with manager Paulo Bento, as they kicked off preparations for 2026 World Cup qualification with a training camp in Austria.
Bento, appointed earlier this month on a three-year contract, travelled with his new team on Saturday for a 13-day get-together before the 2023/24 Adnoc Pro League gets under way on August 18.
The Portuguese coach, 54, guided South Korea to the knockout stages of last year’s World Cup, and has been handed a remit of masterminding what would represent only the UAE’s second qualification for a World Cup. The second round of qualifiers, where the UAE enter, begins in November.
Previously managed by Argentine Rodolfo Arruabarrena, the national team were last week drawn in Group H alongside Bahrain and either Yemen or Sri Lanka, and Nepal or Laos. Those sides must first come through a play-off in October.
The UAE will host Nepal or Laos on Matchday 1 on November 16 before taking on Bahrain in Manama five days later.
The 2026 World Cup has been expanded to 48 teams. The UAE have only once previously reached a global finals, in 1990.