The UAE expect intense competition after being drawn in the same group as two-time champions Brazil, Egypt, and Portugal for the Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup.
The hosts were picked to play in Group A of the tournament, to be held in Dubai from October 31-November 4, following last night’s draw at the Dubai Sports Council (DSC).
Group B consists of three-time champions Russia, one-time winner Iran, Mexico and Paraguay.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.
With the fixtures yet to be announced, UAE manager Mohammed Bashir said the opening match would be their most crucial one – hence the need for a good start.
Bashir expressed hope his side would be given adequate opportunities to prepare for the event.
“We haven’t played together for more than two months, so we need friendly matches to play,” the Emirati pointed out. “Hopefully, everything will come good by the time the competition gets underway.
“The UAE FA will sort things out for us and, Inshallah, we will do our best to qualify from the group,” added Bashir, who guided the national side to a memorable World Cup campaign in the Bahamas this year.
Saeed Hareb, the DSC general director, said he was glad the Intercontinental Cup was going from strength to strength six years after it was “born” in the emirate.
He was also excited to announce the Dubai Water Canal as the new venue. “We have chosen an exciting new venue and want to thank the Dubai International Marine Club for being the host in the past years,” Hareb said.
Joan Cusco, vice-president of the sport’s founders Beach Soccer Worldwide, said the cup had drawn some of the best teams from around the world.
“The teams are most likely the strongest teams we ever had,” Cusco said. “There are three World Cup winners and Paraguay, who beat Brazil two weeks ago in Conmebol Championship.”