New UAE coach Edgardo Bauza’s first 30-man squad has seen an injection of players from President’s Cup winners Al Wahda, ahead of next month’s do-or-die World Cup 2018 qualifier in Thailand.
Recently-dismissed Argentina tactician Bauza, 59, was unveiled as successor to Mahdi Ali earlier this month. With two weeks elapsed since the switch was confirmed, the towering ex-La Albiceleste centre-back stuck with the usual faces.
Only Al Ain winger Mohamed Abdulrahman, 28, missed the cut from the 23-man roster chosen for March’s painful defeats to Japan and Australia.
Bauza decided to introduce goalkeeper Rashid Ali, forward Mohamed Al Akbari, playmaker Khalid Bawazir and potential debutant Tariq Ahmed from Wahda, creating a six-strong contingent. Al Ain right-back Mohamed Ahmed is also back after he suffered a serious knee injury on international duty last September.
The Whites are scheduled to meet up in Dubai on May 30, before heading to a training camp in Malaysia. They will play a friendly against Lebanon there on June 7 and then travel to Bangkok for the critical WC qualifier on June 13.
Bauza has taken over a nation who are fourth with three games left in the third-and-final round of qualifying for World Cup 2018, one place and four points outside the advancement spots in Group B.
Majed Nasser, Walid Abbas, Abdulaziz Haikal, Abdulaziz Sanqour, Khamis Esmail, Habib Fardan, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Al Ahli); Khalid Essa, Mohanad Salem, Ismail Ahmed, Mohamed Ahmed, Ahmed Barman, Omar Abdulrahman (Al Ain); Ali Khaseif, Fares Juma, Mohammed Fawzi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira); Mahmoud Khamis, Tariq Ahmed, Salem Saleh (Al Nasr); Mohammed Marzouq, Hassan Ibrahim (Al Shabab); Rashid Ali, Hamdan Al Kamali, Khalid Bawazir, Mohamed Al Akbari, Tariq Ahmed, Ismail Matar (Al Wahda)
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