Over per week has handed because the UAE’s hopes of constructing it to Qatar 2022 have been formally extinguished by the hands of Australia. With that exit, the final embers of the nation’s second Golden Technology have absolutely been extinguished too.
As Australians proceed to bask within the afterglow of their dramatic and sudden penalty shootout victory within the resultant match towards Peru, a win that secured their place on the international showpiece for the fifth consecutive event, the UAE are left to marvel “what if?” as their await a second look extends from 32 years to at the least 36.
Getting so shut after so lengthy will harm for some time. Possibilities like which can be few and much between.
However extra urgent than questioning “what if?” ought to be the query of “what now?” What does the UAE have to do to make sure the await a second look on the FIFA World Cup doesn’t lengthen past 36 years come the expanded World Cup in 2026?
For the reply they want solely look throughout the border to Saudi Arabia.
Who would have thought solely a decade in the past that we’d be trying on the Kingdom because the bastion of stability? However beneath the management of Saudi Arabian Soccer Federation president Yasser Al-Misehal, that’s precisely what they’ve turn into.
After the frustration of Russia 2018, and the Asian Cup within the UAE six months later, they encountered a fork within the highway. It might have gone both approach.
That they had a imaginative and prescient and a plan and, in Herve Renard, they discovered a person they believed might convey it to life.
Importantly, they didn’t panic when issues didn’t begin effectively. Once they received solely certainly one of their first three qualifiers, drawing with Yemen and Palestine, they stored religion in Renard and the plan, and it was greater than rewarded because the Frenchman constructed his facet into some of the constant on the continent; profitable seven and shedding simply certainly one of their ten video games within the closing spherical to complete high of their group.
Renard has now signed a deal that can take him by means of till 2027. Ought to he see out that contract — and there’s no motive but to recommend he received’t — it is going to make him by far Saudi Arabia’s longest-serving supervisor.
Stability has been the important thing. It’s the basis on which every thing else may be constructed.
Saudi Arabia are actually headed for a second consecutive World Cup and look to be set for a interval of sustained success.
Having made no fewer than 5 teaching modifications within the earlier qualifying marketing campaign, the UAE have been the entire antithesis of secure. The main target must shift from the quick time period to the medium and long run.
It’s no shock that their biggest interval of success in current instances got here beneath Mahdi Ali, who labored with a technology of gamers by means of the junior nationwide groups throughout to the senior set-up. Throughout that interval, they’d consistency and stability, and a coach they backed to the hilt.
If the UAE FA has decided that Argentine Rodolfo Arruabarrena, the most recent man to occupy the recent seat, is the person to take them ahead, they should again him and they should give him time. They should exhibit a degree of endurance that hasn’t existed in current instances.
Whereas total it was a bitterly disappointing marketing campaign, there are some inexperienced shoots that give hope for the longer term.
The efficiency of Harib Abdallah of their closing two video games — towards two of Asia’s largest groups in South Korea and Australia, no much less — ought to make each fan of Emirati soccer proud, and provides them nice hope for the longer term. For an extended interval within the recreation towards Australia he regarded like being the distinction, such was his menace down the left-hand facet of the sphere.
Because the earlier golden technology fades away, it’s gamers corresponding to Abdallah, Ali Saleh, Yahya Al-Ghassani and Khalfan Mubarak — when he can get himself match — that can take the crew into a brand new period.
With the Asian Cup solely 12 months away, and the following World Cup qualification cycle to start not too lengthy after that, they need to be afforded each alternative over the following interval to stake their declare forward of extra senior gamers. The time for generational change is now.
Pleasingly, Arruabarrena, in his quick time in cost, has confirmed himself to be a coach that locations religion and belief in youthful gamers. Within the pressure-filled playoff towards Australia, he began the inexperienced duo of Khaled Al-Dhanhani and Abdullah Hamad, who between them had fewer than 10 caps. That augers effectively for the longer term.
The longer term is what you make it. What is going to the UAE make of theirs?