UAE skipper hopes to win title

uae_300x200Doha: Like many of the teams competing in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™, the United Arab Emirates have opted for a mixture of experience and youth in their squad as they look to challenge for the trophy while also blooding their young stars for future challenges.
But there is plenty of substance to go with the UAE’s decision to lean heavily on youngsters following the silver medal-winning performance of their U-23 side at the recent Asian Games in China.
While their AFC Asian Cup squad does include veterans like midfielder Subait Khater and forward Ismaeil Matar, the majority of the players called up by coach Srecko Katanec are under the age of 24. That includes seven players who were in the starting line-up for the Asian Games final against Japan including striker Ahmed Khalil, who netted three goals in Guangzhou.
The UAE have failed to progress past the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup since they reached the final on home soil in 1996, but team captain Saeed Al Kas is confident that they can improve their record with the squad that they have brought to Qatar.
“We will be trying hard to get another good performance at this tournament. We did well to get second at the Asian Games in China and we are ambitious to get something also from the Asian Cup,” said the striker, who netted two goals during their 2007 campaign in Vietnam.
At 34, Al Kas is the most senior member of the squad and he is appreciative of the willingness of the youngsters to follow the advice of the more experienced professionals.
“They are good players and they are listening to our advice so I believe that we can do well in this competition,” said the Al Wasl player.
“We have not done so well recently at the Asian Cup but I think that this time, we have a chance to do achieve something at this tournament.”