UAE Football team coach Alberto Zaccheroni Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: UAE football coach Alberto Zaccheroni has harped on discipline while laying down the blueprint for preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup, which is to be hosted in Dubai from January 5 to February 1.

UAE have been drawn alongside India, Bahrain and Thailand in Group A for the continental competition last week, with their opener slated to be held at the Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 5. The former Juventus coach, who was in charge when Japan scored a record fourth Asian Cup crown in Qatar seven years back, told media that the ‘Whites’ will commence their preparations with an external training camp from August 1 to 18 in Austria.

From then on, the coach has factored in one camp every month with the team heading to Girona and Barcelona in Spain in September and October.

The camps in November and December will be based in the UAE, with the coach insisting that the team will definitely not be based in Abu Dhabi but either in Al Ain or Dubai in order to avoid familiarity and boredom among the players.

Zaccheroni further said that the national squad will have the opportunity to play the maximum number of friendly matches during the course of the next five months, especially during the Fifa marked days. “The plan is to target at least 40 training sessions from August 1 till the start of the Asian Cup. During this build-up period, much of the time will be spent in propping up the squad tactically while also improving their physical fitness. At the same time, we will pay adequate attention on putting the players in a proper mental frame as we target glory for the UAE on home turf and in front of our own crowd,” Zaccheroni told media on Saturday.

“One of the things we have discussed with the authorities at the UAE Football Association [UAE FA] is that I will not tolerate any sort of breach of discipline from the players. I will not entertain even the smallest of shift in attitude from any of the players. The minute such a thing happens, the concerned player will be packed off home,” he warned.

Zaccheroni maintained that he will keep the door open for players till the very end of December while even opting to have a list of 30 players in his squad. “I want to lead a team that will deliver on the biggest stage with their ability to fight and put up their best. Our start will be the training camp starting on August 1, and this is the stage that will be the most important as it will lay the foundation for the remaining five months,” he added.

“The friendly matches will be against teams from South and North America, Africa and Europe. We will not be playing against Asian teams, simply because we want to test ourselves against the best footballing nations from around the world,” he added.

“This will be a new beginning and I will place my full trust in the players that I choose to represent this country.”