The UAE national team are set to begin a new era under their new manager Bert van Marwijk as he takes charge in his first game with the national team. The team are set to come out with a positive start to their first 2022 World Cup qualification match, which happens to be against host side Malaysia.
The return of their star-player Omar Abdulrahman, who declared himself fit on Monday, has surely boosted the confidence of the manger and the supporters, even though it is unclear on whether he will start in their opening fixture.
The playmaker and the 2016 Asian Player of the Year has not played since competitively since last October after sustaining a knee injury playing for Al Hilal.
The Dutch manager has been given charge of the national team in hopes of guiding them to their first world cup since the country’s only appearance in 1990. Van Marwijk replaced former manager Alberto Zacheroni following UAE’s disappointing exit from the Asian Cup, against Qatar in the semi-final stage on home soil.
He was able to take Saudi Arabia to the finals last summer, before leaving his post and joining Australia in Russia.
The team have spent the past weeks training for the match, first in Bahrain before flying to Malaysia last week.
The UAE are surely going up against an optimistic Malaysian side who won their opening fixture at the 96th-minute against rivals Indonesia. The side are yet to face a competitive test, even after the warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic which really didn’t test the side.