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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 02/09/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Matar hinted that het could be able to return to the pitch in two weeks time after covering half of the four-week period decided by the doctors for his recovery.Dubai: Al Wahda international striker Ismail Matar backed the move of the UAE Football Association to extend the contract of the national team’s head coach Mahdi Ali up to 2018 pointing out that Ali is capable to guide the boys to secure a second reappearance for the country in the 2018 Fifa World Cup finals in Russia.

“I think this generation of players deserves all support as the UAE lads have every chance to repeat the achievement of the 1990 and do it again for the nation” he said.

“Most of the players of the current senior football national team are still very young though they have made a strong presence with the youth national team winners of the AFC U-19 Cup and finished fifth in the Fifa U-20 World Cup before making history by qualifying for the first time to the 2012 London Games” he said.

Meanwhile Matar hinted that het could be able to return to the pitch in two weeks time after covering half of the four-week period decided by the doctors for his recovery.

“I was told that it could take me only four weeks to recover from the knee injury which I have sustained in the last few weeks and that no surgery will be needed in the process” he said.

“I have reached an advanced stage” he said. “I was examined by three specialists in football injuries and they have all agreed I’m suffering a crack in the basic stone of the left knee which should be handled carefully with injections and physiotherapy without any need for surgical intervention” he confirmed.

But while Matar is hopeful to return to the pitch with the kickoff of the current Arabian Gulf season in a couple of weeks or so it’s widely speculated that he may still miss the 22nd edition of the Gulf Cup in Riyadh and the AFC Asian Cup 2015 finals in Australia.

“It’s a matter of fitness” said a UAE-based observer. Matar is 31-years-old and his return after injury won’t be that easy” he noted.

But Matar disagreed and pointed out that: “It’s the same old injury from which I have been treated four years ago and hopefully the medical advice of the German specialists would work because a surgery could delay my return for quite a long period.”

“Being with the senior national team is very crucial for me at this particular stage. It carries a lot of challenges for me and as a team’s leader I’m motivated enough to excel and hit new heights with the squad” he said.

“I have never struck in any of the previous AFC Asian Cup championships and I need to end my drought in Australia 2015 before ending my international career” he said.

Matar made his continental debut in China 2004 then Vietnam 2007 and Qatar 2011 without making his mark at this level. UAE didn’t reach the second stage in any of the three appearances though they went to Hanoi as Gulf champions.

“I think we are very close to claim our first AFC Asian Cup silverware in the light of the convincing qualification to the finals with five wins and a draw. But we need to do more since facing opponents in the caliber of Iran Bahrain and Qatar in the group stage is not going to be easy at all” he noted.

“We have finished runners-up to KSA in 1996 and the time has come to go one better this time out” he noted.

Regarding the chances of the Whites to retain their Gulf Cup title which they have won in Bahrain 2012 Matar said the upcoming edition of the regional competition is going to be equally difficult.

“Nobody can deny that UAE has been drawn in a tough group featuring Iraq Kuwait and Oman which was termed as the ‘iron group’ but in order to win the title you have to beat all your opponents” he said.

“In my opinion we have every chance to defend our crown. We have won all our matches in Bahrain and defeated Iraq in the final. The Whites are making a steady progress in the Fifa Ranking and this has made our opponents in Gulf region take us very seriously and we need to be careful” he said.

“I’m truly obliged to the head coach Mahdi Ali for calling me once again for the senior football national team. It’s true that I didn’t take part in any of the training sessions during the current Austrian tour but Ali’s confidence was of great help for me and has played a major role during my stay in Munich” he said.


Khaleej Times

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