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Mattar targets win over Team GB

UAE's star striker knows team need a result to keep hopes alive

Image Credit: AFP
Emirati Olympic football team captain Esmail Mattar in training on July 25.
Gulf News

London: UAE skipper Esmail Mattar believes Sunday night's match against the Ryan Giggs-led Team GB will be the determining factor in their bid to qualify for the next stage of the football competition.

“The tournament is not over for us,” Mattar, who scored the UAE's goal in their opening 2-1 defeat by Uruguay on Thursday, told media here. “We have only finished one of our three matches. There are another two to go and if we can target all six points then we can aspire for even more.

“But first we will have to cross the first of these hurdles by winning against Team GB on Sunday.”

The 30-year-old Mattar, who shot into the limelight when he was crowned MVP at the 2003 Fifa World Youth Cup hosted by the UAE, has been a mainstay of the national side in recent years. So dominant has been his presence that coach Mahdi Ali has him as his captain in the nation’s debut Olympic campaign here.

“There are going to be big names [like Ryan Giggs], so there is no need for us to be nervous. This is a tournament and I think we have the qualities to play in this competition against the best teams in the world. I am not worried at all. We have shown the world and earned the respect of the other teams in our match against Uruguay. This is the time to stay focused and go for the three points,” Mattar said.