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UAE legend offers olive branch to Qatar

Al Talyani believes current squad has great potential

Gulf News

Manama: UAE national team’s supervisor, Adnan Al Talyani, has said comments made by the team’s director about the Qatari team were misjudged.

Mutraf Al Shamsi had reportedly said the nation’s Gulf Cup campaign would only begin when they played hosts Bahrain in their second match, offending the Qatar camp, who they played first and beat 3-1 on Saturday.

“Mutraf Al Shamsi was simply trying to convey a message to our players and fend off complacency,” the legendary former player said.

“We have nothing but respect for Qatar and every other team in this competition. It was certainly not our intent to belittle them. Every team in this championship will have to overcome many challenges due to the similarity in the quality of the teams.”

Regarding comments made by Yousuf Al Serkal, President of the UAE Football Association, describing the current UAE squad as the best generation of players the country has ever had, Al Talyani said: “We are very confident with our current squad. This is a team that we are preparing for future competitions.”

Speaking about whether winning the Gulf Cup would fulfil expectations following UAE’s early exit from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Al Talyani said: “We had a different manager and squad. It is true that they still represented the UAE. However, we accepted the challenge of managing our Olympic team, which has now been promoted to first team status. We are preparing this squad for upcoming competitions, and winning this championship would be a very good start.”