United Arab Emirates to have New Coach as Mahdi

United Arab Emirates have managed to agree a deal with coach Mahdi Ali over extending his contract.

The 49-year-old was due to leave the UAE national team role in the summer. His contract was coming to an end in the next few months, but UAE officials are thought to be happy with his progress. The nation has lost only twice since November and are in a good position going into the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign. Mahdi Ali has stressed that it is imperative that UAE do well in the qualification stages and possibly reach the last levels of qualification.

The Asian cup ended on a positive note for the team after they managed to reach the semifinals of the competition. It was only through a 2-0 defeat against Australia, one strongest teams in the competition, that they were knocked out. Australia went on to win the tournament, which says a lot about the strength in quality. Still, it was a much better performance from the Emirates team and this appears to have been a major reason towards the FA offering their manager new contract extension. Speaking after the Asian cup, Mahdi Ali said that he should not be forgotten that UAE played against three teams who are part of the World Cup 2014.

“We played three games against teams who qualified for the World Cup in Japan, Iran and Australia. We played well in these three games and there was no big gap between the teams. This gives us the confidence to qualify for the next World Cup.We have to work hard and plan better than before as it will be hard with the new draw system where you have a group of eight. It’s a good chance for us to qualify for Russia as we have a good generation,” said Ali.