The UAE squad are expected to meet for a training camp later this month despite their upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header being postponed.
On Monday, a decision was taken by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in conjunction with Fifa to reschedule the remaining matches in the second phase of qualification for Qatar 2022, as a precaution because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The UAE had been expected to face Malaysia in Dubai on March 26 and then take on Indonesia away five days later, before rounding off Group G with home matches against Thailand and Vietnam. Those fixtures were originally scheduled to take place on June 4 and 9, respectively.
No new dates have been communicated as of yet, although slots in September, October and November have been discussed. It is anticipated a decision will come later this week.
Nevertheless, the UAE squad could meet on March 23, as they use the international break, and the absence of qualifiers, to work with new manager Ivan Jovanovic. The Serb, who was appointed as Bert van Marwijk’s successor in December, has been tasked with guiding the national team through to the third phase of qualification.
A decision on whether the squad will convene in Dubai could be taken on Wednesday. The FA are considering arranging a friendly during the camp, should it go ahead, although they have not decided on an opponent.
With four matches in qualification remaining, the UAE sit fourth in their five-team pool, five points off leaders Vietnam. However, they have played a game less than their rivals.
Meanwhile, the AFC said on Monday that any Asian qualifiers can go ahead, providing they are mutually agreed between the competing national team’s associations. The continental governing body have set a March 13 deadline for this month’s matches, and May 3 for the June fixtures.
Source: The National Sport