Troubled goalkeeper Majed Naser granted second chance with UAE national team
DUBAI // Mahdi Ali sprang a surprise on Wednesday when he recalled the controversial Al Ahli goalkeeper Majed Naser to the 24-man provisional squad for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia next month.
After a contentious match versus Al Ain, Naser last month was handed a six-month ban and a fine of Dh200,000 by the Football Association’s disciplinary committee. Both ban and fine were overturned two weeks later by the FA’s appeal committee.
The original judgement perhaps highlighted his reputation for ill-considered behaviour; he has a record of disciplinary actions extending to 2001.
Mahdi Ali said he is aware of the goalkeeper’s past troubles but said he is confident the Al Ahli No 1 will cause no problems on international duty.
“To be completely honest, before we announced the squad I went to Al Ahli and sat down with the player and management and we discussed the matter,” Mahdi Ali said.
“We want to give him a second chance. He promised to abide by our rules and training regimes, and that he will keep out of trouble. He’s turning over a new page.”
With Ismail Matar out through injury, Naser and Hamdan Al Kamali, are the only remaining links from the UAE squad that took part in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
Though the team went out at the group stage, Naser was one of the few players to distinguish himself, coming within seconds of recording a second clean sheet before a Walid Abbas own goal in injury time condemned the UAE to a 1-0 defeat against Iraq.
“We want to benefit from his presence and it’s a chance for him to prove that he is up to the responsibility,” Mahdi Ali said.
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Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM