Dubai: The UAE Football Association have expressed “deep disappointment” at Egypt’s cancellation of next week’s friendly, vowing never to deal with the company that organised it — Egyptian firm Presentation Sports.
They also stated “amazement” at their Egyptian FA counterparts, who announced the cancellation to Egyptian media before news had reached the UAE.
Mohammad Salah’s Egypt were meant to play the UAE at Al Wahda’s Al Nahyan Stadium on November 20, however the Pharaohs pulled out of the friendly on Monday citing a packed schedule.
The UAE FA released a statement via their social media channels on Tuesday.
“The UAE FA is deeply disappointed with the unprofessional treatment of the company ‘Presentation Sports’ especially after the parties agreed on all matters related to the match and included it in the agenda of international friendly matches,” it read — adding that it was announced on the Fifa website and on social media channels of both national teams on October 23.
“Therefore the UAE FA have decided to discontinue dealing with the company ‘Presentation Sports’ in the future.
“The UAE FA is also amazed by some of the statements made by some of the Egyptian football officials and various media outlets about the cancellation or postponement of the game before we formally addressed it.”
Egypt are now saying they can slate the friendly for March but that won’t help the UAE who are busy preparing for January’s Asian Cup hosting, with Alberto Zaccheroni’s side needing this test as a tune up.
The UAE play Bolivia in Abu Dhabi on Friday but are now looking for a last-minute replacement to play in place of Egypt next Tuesday.
“Based on the keenness of the UAE FA to provide the needs of the national team in preparation for the Asian Cup, and not to affect the team currently assembled on camp in Dubai, the UAE FA immediately, after the receipt of the message to postpone the Egypt game, began looking for an alternative team to be announced later.”
This is the second time Egypt have pulled out of a friendly with the UAE in the space of a year after also cancelling a match on November 9, 2017, in Al Ain that would have been Zaccheroni’s first game in charge. ‘Difficulties’ experienced by the organisers was also the reason cited on that occasion.
The UAE will face India, Bahrain and Thailand in the Asian Cup but have had torrid preparation for their home tournament not only having this Egypt cancellation to contend with but also winning just one of their last eight under Zaccheroni, who in total has won just four out 14 matches since taking charge last November.