UAE boss Mahdi Ali has chosen to use next month’s 2016 King’s Cup as a chance to experiment with his World Cup options after he named a much-changed, 26-man squad on Wednesday.
All of the Whites’ established stars will remain at home as a string of reserves compete from June 3-5 in Thailand, a nation they are also set to face in Group B during the third and final round of qualifying.
The four-team tournament is rounded out by Jordan and Syria.
This exploratory approach is set to see the likes of Bani Yas midfielder Fawaz Awana, Al Shabab fullback Manei Mohamed and Al Nasr defender Masoud Sulaiman handed the chance to make their international debuts.
For Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang, he had no problem facing a country for whom he will be battling against to reach Russia 2018 from September.
He said: “Even though UAE is in the same group as us, we don’t mind. Both of us will gain benefits.”
Al Wahda defender Hamdan Al Kamali has been granted another chance to regain his regular spot, while club-mate Mohamed Al Akbari and Al Jazira forward Ahmed Al Attas will look to gain further exposure to first-class international football. The tournament format will see the UAE play two matches.
UAE SQUAD: Walid Amber (Emirates Club); Fawaz Awana (Bani Yas); Saif Khalfan, Khalfan Mubarak, Sultan Al Shamsi, Ahmed Al Attas (Al Jazira); Mohammed Yousif (Sharjah); Hassan Hamza, Manei Mohamed, Hassan Ibrahim (Al Shabab); Ahmed Ali (Al Dhafra); Ahmed Barman, Saeed Al Menhali (Al Ain); Ahmed Shambieh, Mubarak Saeed, Masoud Sulaiman, Mahmoud Khamis, Khalid Jalal, Jassim Yaqoub, Salem Saleh (Al Nasr); Hamdan Al Kamali, Salem Sultan, Sultan Al Ghaferi, Mohamed Al Akbari, Khalid Bawazir (Al Wahda); Abdullah Kazim (Al Wasl).
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