Abu Dhabi: Yousuf Al Sarkal, the President of UAE Football Association (UAEFA), dedicated the Gulf Cup win to the leadership of the UAE — in recognition of their support to sport and the team — and also to the fans who backed the team in great numbers.
“Although this win was earned by the UAE, it is Pan-Gulf (Khaliji) for me, and peoples of other Gulf nations too have the right to celebrate it with us. I thank the people of the UAE and fans who have strong belief in the players’ abilities,” Al Sarkal said after the presentation of trophies at the National Stadium in Manama on Friday night.
Members of the football fraternity were unanimous that the country now had a new formidable team, which may go on to achieve greater feats.
“I believe that UAE FA has done well to depend on the younger players of the former under 23 Olympic team to form a team for the future,” Dr Abdullah Misfir, the former UAE coach and coach of Dibba in the professional league, told Gulf News.
“I feel happy that Mahdi Ali has vindicated the decision of the FA to appoint an Emirati coach for the senior team. This victory will restore faith in us, the national coaches.” Misfir added.
Mohammad Obaid Al Daheri(Hamdoon), the former UAE and Al Ain defender, said: “This is the golden generation of the UAE football and I believe they are more talented than the generation of the 90’s that earned a berth in the finals of the World Cup in Italy.”
It was a ringing endorsement from Hamdoon as he was one of the members of that World Cup team.
“We are happy to have such a talented group of players who, despite being young and debutants in the Gulf Cup, have proved their worth and won the title. Tactically, they are highly-matured and they are always doing their best in all matches.”
Fahad Ali, the former defender of the UAE, praised both the players and their coach and said: “Frankly, they deserved to win the title.
“They are the only team who won all their five matches and they have shown great understanding of the tactical plans of their coach Mahdi Ali.”