Under-performing UAE stars in spotlight after Gulf Cup failure

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Amoory's anguish: Omar Abdulrahman was left devastated by his penalty misses (Getty).

Enraged UAE Football Association president Marwan bin Ghalita has sensationally declared some of the nation’s star players “did not give everything they had” during a dreary display at the Gulf Cup, declaring none of them will be spared in the ensuing inquest.

Decisive penalty misses in the 90th minute and in the shootout by golden boy Omar Abdulrahman saw the underwhelming Whites felled by underdogs Oman during Friday’s final. This followed a miserly run in Kuwait City during Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s tournament debut which saw only one goal scored in five matches – striker Ali Mabkhout’s spot-kick in December 22’s Group A-opener against the same opponents – and no goals conceded.

Such banal performances have made the omens for January 2019’s Asian Cup on home soil less promising, particularly after the recent failure to make World Cup 2018. These setbacks mean the ‘Golden Generation’ are not above reproach.

“I demanded a detailed report on the night of the game and there is no player in the team more important than the badge of the Whites,” Bin Ghalita was quoted as saying in a series of tweets from the UAE FA’s official Twitter account. “Courtesy will not benefit the development of the team, and youth is the most important gain in this tournament.

“We have learned many lessons for the 2019 Asian Cup.”

He added: “Some of the experienced players did not give everything they had during the tournament. This is because names alone are not helpful in the big matches.”

One figure not in the firing line is Zaccheroni. He will be afforded time to implement his trademark 3-4-3 formation, with the Gulf Cup coming less than three months since the ex-AC Milan, Juventus and Japan tactician’s hiring.

Bin Ghalita said: “Zaccheroni, an expert and thinker, managed to communicate his tactical ideas to the players. Zaccheroni’s current goal is to develop the players’ minds and way of thinking.”

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