Abu Dhabi: The UAE national ice hockey team will leave for Kuwait on Saturday to take part in the IIHF Challenge Cup for Asia, from April 24-30, with hopes of returning with the title which they won in 2009, and finished second in 2010.
This was disclosed yesterday in a press conference held at the Tennis Courts at Zayed Sports City attended by Hamel Al Qubaisi, the Vice-Chairman of the UAE Ice Hockey Association, Matti Fagerstrom, the coach of the national team, Ebrahim Budebs, UAE player and Ali Al Hosani, the Media Coordinator of the UAE IHA.
"We have great hopes of winning the title again after 2009 at home. We finished second last year to Chinese Taipei and we are confident of our capabilities. We have great respect for our opponents especially Kuwait, the hosts, who will be playing at home, but our players are in a high morale and have vast experience, and physically they are in their peak form as they just finished the domestic league." Al Qubaisi said.
The team held a training camp in Al Ain but their head coach, Fagerstrom, was not happy with the outcome.
"We have some problems regarding the injuries of key players and the work obligations of the players did not help us much, but we are optimistic and looking forward to the competition and we hope to achieve good results."
The UAE will kick off their campaign in the championship against Hong Kong on April 25 before facing Macau the next day and then Kuwait in their most crucial match on April 27 before facing India on the 29th and end their campaign against Thailand on April 30.