Rashid bin Humaid praises support of UAE’s leadership for Emirati football

DUBAI, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Transitional Committee of the UAE Football Association, praised the support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates for the UAE’s sports sector, especially for football.

He added that the support of the country’s leadership has motivated everyone concerned to exert greater efforts to keep pace with the UAE’s overall development, stating, We thank H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Honorary President of the UAE Football Association, for his directives and for supporting Emirati football, as well as H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for his vision.

Sheikh Rashid made these statements during an exclusive interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, about his experience as Chairman of the Transitional Committee of the UAE Football Association.

On the future challenges facing the association and how they will be tackled, Sheikh Rashid said, We are facing significant challenges in developing Emirati football on all fronts. Therefore, we shall draft a comprehensive working strategy for the sport, which will include all administrative, technical and referee-related aspects in terms of local competitions, national teams, marketing and legal affairs.

We are optimistic and hopeful that the coming period will witness significant progress, especially in terms of building a strong national team and we are happy about the keenness of the members of the Association’s General Assembly to adopt regulations that will benefit football in the UAE, he further added.

On the goals of the association’s planned retreat and related arrangements, Sheikh Rashid explained, We believe that everyone is a partner in the development process. Therefore, we thought about launching an initiative, titled, ‘The UAE Football Retreat,’ which will take place in March 2020. We shall invite senior officials from sports authorities, former presidents of the association, experts, former players and the media to discuss the current state of football and ways of developing it.

We are also keen to invite all members of the community to participate in setting the main topics for discussion at the retreat, through a survey that will be posted on the federation’s official website, social media, newspapers and sports channels. During the retreat, suggested plans will be discussed, and we are closely following the retreat’s working team and any related developments, and we will launch several new initiatives in this regard, he further said.

Concerning the participation of the UAE National Team in the AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers and qualifying for the World Cup 2022 and 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Sheikh Rashid noted, We know that the task of the team at the joint qualifiers for the World Cup 2022 and the Asian Cup 2023 is not easy, because it is currently ranked in the fourth position in its group. But we are optimistic because the team has four crucial matches, three of which will be played at home with the support of home fans while one will be played in Indonesia. The first step we have taken is assigning the Serbian coach, Ivan Jovanovic, to take over the training of the Emirati team in this critical period and we have supported the team by introducing three new players. I think our team has a great opportunity to get through the current stage beyond the four games and we have full confidence in our players and technical staff to successfully overcome that stage. They realise the scale of their responsibilities, along with the entire football system in general, from the fans, the media, clubs and professional league, because the national team needs time to prepare against competing teams.

However, the work we are doing is not only limited to the first team. We shall work in parallel with other teams that represent the country in regional, continental and international competitions, he added.

Regarding the visit of Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Asian Football Confederation, and the future cooperation between the two federations, Sheikh Rashid stressed that the UAE Football Association’s relations with the Asian and other international federations are advancing.

We are happy about the confidence of FIFA, which awarded the UAE the right to host many international football events, as we have achieved considerable success in terms of organisation and high attendance rates. Concerning the Asian Football Confederation, we have an excellent relationship with Sheikh Salman and we support the nomination of Abdullah Nasser as member of the confederation’s Executive Office, as we are confident that he will bring added value, he further noted.

Sheikh Rashid then praised Sheikh Salman’s role in developing Asian football through various programmes covering Asian competitions, sponsorship, among other areas.

Source: Emirates News Agency