Dubai: Al Wasl’s Brazilian star Fabio De Lima is confident he can make a significant contribution in the UAE winning all four matches and advance to the final stages of qualifying for the 2022 Fifa World Cup Qatar.
Earlier this week, the UAE Football Association (UAE FA) announced that citizenship had been granted to Al Wahda’s Argentine striker Sebastian Tagliabue along with Al Ain’s attacking midfielder Caio Canedo as both players fulfilled necessary criteria to represent the UAE.
De Lima, who is likely to join Tagliabue and Canedo to become the third foreign player to get emirati citizenship, confirmed that he is in advanced talks with his club to complete the necessary formalities and make the switch.
“Of course we can win all four games. We have good quality of players in the national side and all are committed to a siingle cause of advancing to the final round of qualifying,” De Lima told Gulf News after coming up with both assists to help Al Wasl to a comfortable 2-0 win against lowly Kalba in 13th round action of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), on Thursday.
“We are in a bit of situation at the moment wherein we have to win all four matches, but my gut feeling says that we can do it with the type of committed players in our side. We had bad luck in the last game even though we played well, but now everyone in the national squad knows what is needed. We can get all 12 points and advance to the next round,” he said.
De Lima further confirmed that he is scheduled for a meeting with the hierarchy of Al Wasl Club followed by further negotiations with the UAE FA. “I am scheduled for a meeting with the Al Wasl officials next week after which we will meet up with the UAE FA. I have a feeling all will be well as my current situation is favourable with me fulfilling all criteria to represent the UAE. I am very happy to be in this kind of situation and things will be clear after we complete this meeting with the club officials,” De Lima said.
“I have been in the UAE for six years now, and I have always given my best for my team [Al Wasl]. It wont be any different if I am included in the UAE national team, whether it is on the bench or in the playing XI. I am here to play and help the UAE achieve its goals. I don’t want to look too much into the future but if I do get the opportunity, then I am always willing to do my best,” the 26-year-old added.
The UAE’s next qualifying match for the 2022 Fifa World Cup Qatar will be at home against Malaysia on March 26 before playing Indonesia away on March 31. It will be followed by home games against Thailand (June 4) and Vietnam (June 9).
As hosts, the UAE had reached the semi-final of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup before falling 0-4 in the semi-finals to eventual champions Qatar under Alberto Zaccheroni. However, the West Asian side has had a modest start to their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign as they lie fourth with six points after four matches in Group G.