Despite being drawn in the same group as world champions Brazil and a strong Portugal team, UAE are optimistic about their chances at the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup 2017.
The annual tournament takes place from October 31 to November 4 and will move to a new venue at the Dubai Properties area in Business Bay this year.
Host nation UAE have been drawn against Brazil, Portugal and Egypt in Group A after the official draw ceremony was held at the Dubai Sports Council on Tuesday.
The eight invited teams are divided into two groups with Group B made up of former champions Iran, Mexico, Russia and Paraguay.
“It would be nice to take on Egypt in our first match,” UAE coach Mohammad Al Mazmi told media after the draw.
“While it is a dream for us to have such strong teams like Brazil and Portugal in our group, we would want to start off on a winning note against an opponent like Egypt.”.
UAE gave a good account of themselves at the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup earlier this year in the Bahamas, securing a win, a draw and a loss.
“Those results gave us a good sense of belief and confidence,” Al Mazmi said.
“We have not played competitively for the past three months, hence we need to be at our best against such top teams in our group. The UAE Football Association has been supportive all along and I am sure we will play a few practice matches against some tough teams and be prepared for such a prestigious competition.”
“This tournament was born in Dubai and we are proud because we can give our national team the opportunity to play against some of the best sides from across the world,” Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, DSC, said.
“Many people are now aware of the importance of beach soccer, and this year too we have a unique flavour of beach soccer styles from North and South America, Europe and Africa. There has been a constant evolution in this tournament from its first year to the seventh, and that gives us a sense of pride and satisfaction,” he added.
A: UAE; Egypt; Brazil; Portugal.
B: Mexico; Iran; Paraguay; Russia.