Dutch supremo Bert van Marwijk’s UAE reign has got off to a dispiriting start after it was confirmed pivotal attackers Omar Abdulrahman and Ali Mabkhout will not be present at his first training camp.
Sunday witnessed the beginning, in earnest, of the Whites’ nine-day get together in Salzburg, Austria. This spell provides both an introduction to the beaten World Cup 2010 finalist’s vaunted methods and a means for him to assess options ahead of September’s commencement of World Cup 2022 qualifying.
A trio of call-ups, however, were missing from the original 27-man roster selected in late May. 2016 AFC Player of the Year Omar Abdulrahman has still not proven his fitness after October’s serious knee injury incurred with Saudi Professional League heavyweights Al Hilal, while 2015 Asian Cup top scorer Ali Mabkhout and youthful Al Jazira team-mate Zayed Al Ameri also aren’t in attendance.
“Omar Abdulrahman is absent from this team camp. Ali Mabkhout is missing because of special circumstances and Zayed Al Ameri did not join the internal gathering in Dubai,” a UAE Football Association statement read.
“The list is free of Al Wahda players, who are preparing for the 2019 AFC Champions League round-of-16 clash with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr.”
The Whites are also eagerly awaiting Wednesday’s second-round draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They will then find out their opening opponents on September 5 and September 10, with a second camp – at a yet-to-be-decided location – set to get going on August 24.
Van Marwijk, 67, has been challenged to secure a second-ever qualification for the 1990 finalists. He was appointed in March on a four-year deal as successor to bemoaned Italian Alberto Zaccheroni.
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