UAE squad for next World Cup qualifiers: Majed Naser among the recalled

Mahdli Ali has recalled Majed Naser, Saeed Al Kathiri, Tariq Ahmed and Haboush Saleh for next month's matches against Saudi Arabia and Thailand, John McAuley reports.
The UAE have three points from their first two of 10 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. Karim Sahib / AFP
The UAE have three points from their first two of 10 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. Karim Sahib / AFP

Mahdi Ali has named his UAE squad for next month’s 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

The Emirates, fourth in Group B after two matches, take on Thailand at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on October 6 before facing Saudi Arabia five days later at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

Once again, Al Ahli and Al Ain dominate the 23-man squad, with eight and seven representatives, respectively.

Majed Naser is the most notable call-up, after the Al Ahli goalkeeper missed this month’s fixtures against Japan and Australia with a wrist injury. Al Ain’s Saeed Al Kathiri, Al Nasr’s Tariq Ahmed and Baniyas’ Haboush Saleh have also been recalled.

More UAE national team

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• Mahdi Ali: ‘We did not lose the qualification’ after Australia setback

The majority of the group gathers on Monday in Dubai, following the second round of the Arabian Gulf League, and will train for three days before moving sessions to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

The Al Ain players, including playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, will join up with the squad on September 29 after the first leg of the Asian Champions League semi-final against Qatar’s El Jaish, which takes place next Tuesday.

The UAE, ranked 66th in the world by Fifa, began the third and final qualification stage with a shock 2-1 victory in Japan at the start of this month, before suffering a 1-0 defeat to Australia in Abu Dhabi five days later.

The two top teams automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while the third-placed side go into a play-off against the third-placed side from Group A. The winner then meets a Concacaf nation to decide who secures a spot in Russia. The UAE have participated at a World Cup only once before, in 1990.

UAE squad: Majed Naser, Abdulaziz Haikal, Abdulaziz Sanqour, Walid Abbas, Khamis Esmail, Habib Fardan, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Al Ahli), Khaled Essa, Mohanad Salem, Ismail Ahmed, Mohammed Fayez, Omar Abdulrahman, Amer Abdulrahman, Saeed Al Kathiri (Al Ain), Ali Kasheif, Mohammed Fawzi, Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira), Hamdan Al Kamali (Al Wahda), Salem Saleh, Tariq Ahmed (Al Nasr), Hassan Ibrahim (Al Shabab), Haboush Saleh (Baniyas).

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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Published: September 22, 2016 04:00 AM

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