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Hungry UAE out to impress in Dubai
The hosts are enjoying momentum ahead of the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in Marasi Business Bay.
UAE coach Mohamed Al Maazmi says his side have a point to prove at the upcoming Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in Dubai, adding that the hosts have been putting the hours in a bid to impress their home fans.
In the 2016 edition of the competition, the UAE fell some way short of their desired finish, ending in seventh thanks to a narrow final-day win against the USA.
But much has changed since then, with former coach Gustavo 'Guga' Zloccowick making way and the UAE's current coaching structure ensuring a runners-up spot at the AFC Beach Soccer Championship in Malaysia before a respectable showing at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas.
The UAE may have exited at the group stage but did so despite picking up two wins, having gone out after a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to defending champions Portugal in extra-time.
Those two nations will meet again in Group A next week and coach Al Maazmi says he and his squad are full of confidence after spending the last few months preparing diligently for one of the biggest competitions in the sport’s calendar.
"We had the UAE’s best FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup participation in history, and I think that it is a definite sign of progress," he said. "Step by step we are showing to the world our hard work that we are building up here day by day.
"After the World Cup, a great number of our players went to Europe to play in different leagues and competitions so that helps us to gain more experience. For sure we are stronger than ever."
Al Maazmi is also eagerly anticipating the prospect of leading the UAE out on home sand for the first time as coach, adding: "I am wanting the very best for my team. It’s a good opportunity for us to show the hard work that we have put in for the last four months during training and it’s going to be a great experience for myself and the players to feel the atmosphere that comes with playing in your own country, with family, friends and supporters watching."
The UAE's best efforts at the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup came with third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, something Al Maazmi is eager to build on this time around.
And the coach says local fans in the region can expect a fully committed and determined display from his team after four months of preparation, continuing: "We do need more support when it comes to things like the national league in UAE and more championships for the national teams, but we have been training since July for this tournament.
"The people will see a team here who are organised, skilled and, most importantly, playing with their heart for their country."
The Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup runs from October 31st to November 4th in Marasi Business Bay, Dubai, and will see Brazil, Portugal, Iran, Russia, Paraguay, Mexico and Egypt compete alongside the UAE.
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