Abu Dhabi: The UAE national ice hockey team will leave for Kuwait on Saturday to take part in the IIHF Challenge Cup for Asia, which will be played from April 24 to 30, with hopes of returning with the title which they won in 2009, finishing second last year.
This was announced Wednesday in a press conference held at the Zayed Sports City, which was attended by Hamel Al Qubaisi, Vice-Chairman of the UAE Ice Hockey Association (IHA), Matti Fagerstrom, the coach of the national team, Ebtahim Budips, UAE player and Ali Al Housani, the Media Coordinator of the UAE IHA.
"We have great hopes of winning the title again after our win at home in 2009. We finished second last year to Chinese Taipei and we are confident of our abilities. We have great respect for our opponents, especially hosts Kuwait, who will be playing at home, but our team's morale is high and we have vast experience. Physically (the players) 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 head coach Fagerstrom was not happy with the outcome.
"We have some problems regarding injuries to 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.