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AFC Asian Cup 2019: Hosts UAE announce 23-man squad

17:53 GMT 24/12/2018
UAE 3-1 Thailand
The Whites will be missing the services of star player Omar Abdulrahman but Ismail Matar has been included after an injury scare...

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) head coach Alberto Zaccheroni has revealed the 23-member squad for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup at home.

Placed in Group A, alongside India, Thailand and Bahrain, the Whites start their campaign on the opening night against the latter on 5 January.

They then face India on 10 January and Thailand on 14 January, capping off their group committments. The Arab nation will be participating for the 10th time in Asian Cup finals, with their best performance coming in the 1996 edition - finishing runners up, co-incidentally as hosts themselves.

Italian coach Zaccheroni, who has won the competition in 2011 with Japan, took over the reigns of the team in 2017. However in 16 games in-charge so far, UAE has won four and lost five times, drawing seven under the former AC Milan manager.

Star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman. once touted to play at the highest level in Europe would have been the lynchpin of the side if not for an ACL injury which ruled him out of the reckoning a couple of months ago. Veteran striker Ismail Matar seems to have recovered from his injury issues as the 35-year-old has been named as well.

Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil will join Matar in the attacking department as Shabab Al Ahli centre half Mohammed Marzooq has been left out in favour of Ismail Ahmed, fresh off a Club World Cup final against Real Madrid with Al Ain. His teammate Khalid Essa will be numero uno choice in between the sticks.


Khalid Essa (Al Ain), Ali Khaseif (Al Jazira), Mohamed Al Shamsi (Al Wahda);

DEFENDERS: Mohamed Ahmed (Al Ain), Ismail Ahmed (Al Ain), Khalifa Al Hammadi (Al Jazira), Fares Juma (Al Jazira), Khalifa Mubarak (Al Nasr), Mahmoud Khamis (Al Nasr), Walid Abbas (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai);

MIDFIELDERS: Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Amer Abdulrahman (Al Ain), Rayan Yaslam (Al Ain), Mohamed Abdulrahman (Al Ain), Khalfan Mubarak (Al Jazira), Majed Hassan (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai), Ismail Al Hammadi (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai), Ali Salmeen (Al Wasl), Khamis Esmail (Al Wasl);

FORWARDS: Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira), Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai), Saif Rashid (Sharjah), Ismail Matar (Al Wahda).