Bolivia friendly will be useful for UAE: Team manager
With just 50 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup on home soil, the UAE have ramped up preparations with an international football friendly against Bolivia on Friday night.
The Whites, ranked 81 in the world, take on their Bolivian counterparts, placed 59 on the list at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium, formerly the home of Al Shabab.
The friendly is one of two that Alberto Zaccheroni's men will play during the fourth camp which began on November 6.
The UAE were to take on Egypt at the renovated Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi four days after the game against Bolivia but with that fixture running into a roadblock, they will now take on fellow AFC Asian Cup contenders Yemen at Al Wasl's Zabeel Stadium next Tuesday.
The mood in the camp has been upbeat ahead of the match against Bolivia and team manager Obaid Habita said that the game will be another opportunity for the UAE to put their plans to test ahead of Asia's biggest competition.
"The current camp has been going according to the plan set out by coach Alberto Zaccheroni and the players are showing enough seriousness as well as enthusiasm," said Obaid Habita.
"The players are in good spirits and want to show Zaccheroni that they deserve a place in the starting line-up. That gives us a lot of optimism. The players are physically and mentally ready for the two friendlies after continuous training during the camp. The match against a strong team like Bolivia will be very useful as we prepare for the AFC Asian Cup," he added.
Zaccheroni, who had guided Japan to the title in 2011, had outlined the UAE's roadmap heading into the event, with five camps during which they played friendlies against Andorra, Trinidad and Tobago, Laos, Honduras and Venezuela.
The first camp was held from August 1 to 18 in Austria with the second in Girona, Spain from September 1 to 11.
The third camp took place in Barcelona, also in Spain, from October 6 to 16. The UAE will wrap up preparations with another camp scheduled to run from December 15 to 31 at home.
The AFC Asian Cup takes place from January 5 to February 1 next year. The UAE are placed in Group A along with India, Thailand and Bahrain.