UAE Eyasses promoted after scorching opposition in Europe Challenge Cup

The Eyasses amassed over 300 points as they win all four matches in Gibraltar

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The UAE regained their place in the top flight of Europe netball after winning the U17 Europe Challenge Cup in Gibraltar over the weekend.

The Eyasses, as they are popularly known, racked up over 300 points in four games unbeaten in the competition that included host Gibraltar, Switzerland, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland.

The UAE are now promoted to the Championship League where they will in February 2023 face England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“The UAE Netball Federation are proud of how netball is developing and that the team is now a force to be reckoned with on the global stage,” Amna Al Maazmi, chairperson of the federation said.

“It has been an exhilarating journey and we are focussed on our next steps leading into February’s competition.”

The Eyasses opened their campaign by routing Switzerland 75-10 and then topped that by beating Gibraltar 90-11. They overcame Isle of Man 76-36 before rounding off the five-team league by defeating the Republic of Ireland 65-33.

UAE Eyasses beat Republic of Ireland 65-33. Photo: Eric Rowbottom

“The coaches and management are extremely proud of the Eyasses results at the Europe Challenge,” said UAE team manager Susanne Skelding.

“The opposition was largely unknown going into the competition as none of the countries had competed through Covid restrictions.

“The UAE Eyasses had, however, taken the opportunity to partake in an England, Scotland, and UAE triangular back in February. Taking the win against Scotland back then, we knew we had a strong team.

“However, as happens in sport, we lost two players of the 12-strong squad that had competed back then and brought two younger players into the squad for this weekend.

“Putting impressive scores on the board each game demonstrated the strength and depth of the UAE Eyas squad and every player contributed towards each game."

The Eyasses were in scoring touch in Gibraltar, amassing more than 300 goals in four games.

Skelding said the UAE coaches had set the players high targets in each game and praised the squad for surpassing expectations.

UAE Eyasses scored more than 300 points in their four games. Photo: Eric Rowbottom

“Every team they played presented new and different styles of play and the Eyasses were able to showcase their skills and unravel what was needed and when,” Skelding added.

“They were able to interchange players and rest legs over the gruelling three-day tournament. In some games the Eyasses enjoyed a run of 18 goals unanswered by the opposition - these are impressive stats that the players and coaches can be very proud of.”

The UAE will now move to the U17 Championship level where they will meet England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all of whom are ranked in the top 20 in the world.

“The current team will not all be eligible for the Championship event that will take place in February in Northern Ireland as five of the 12 players will no longer meet the U17 age requirements,” Skelding said.

“This will mean that coaches will now be looking at their U17 long squad to bring new players up into the team.

“The team selections will be made in January and with much work to be done between now and then after a week’s rest period and performance review."

Updated: November 15, 2022, 6:10 AM