Over per week has handed because the UAE’s hopes of constructing it to Qatar 2022 had been formally extinguished by the hands of Australia. With that exit, the final embers of the nation’s second Golden Technology have certainly been extinguished too.
As Australians proceed to bask within the afterglow of their dramatic and sudden penalty shootout victory within the resultant match in opposition to Peru, a win that secured their place on the world showpiece for the fifth consecutive event, the UAE are left to surprise “what if?” as their watch for a second look extends from 32 years to no less than 36.
Getting so shut after so lengthy will damage for some time. Possibilities like which might 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 watch for a second look on the FIFA World Cup doesn’t prolong 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 below the management of Saudi Arabian Soccer Federation president Yasser Al-Misehal, that’s precisely what they’ve grow to be.
After the frustration of Russia 2018, and the Asian Cup within the UAE six months later, they encountered a fork within the highway. It may have gone both manner.
They’d a imaginative and prescient and a plan and, in Herve Renard, they discovered a person they believed may convey it to life.
Importantly, they didn’t panic when issues didn’t begin properly. Once they gained solely one in all 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 one of the crucial constant on the continent; profitable seven and shedding simply one in all their ten video games within the remaining spherical to complete high of their group.
Renard has now signed a deal that can take him via till 2027. Ought to he see out that contract — and there’s no cause but to counsel he gained’t — it can make him by far Saudi Arabia’s longest-serving supervisor.
Stability has been the important thing. It’s the basis on which every little thing else might be constructed.
Saudi Arabia at the moment are 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 adjustments within the earlier qualifying marketing campaign, the UAE have been the whole antithesis of steady. The main focus 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 below Mahdi Ali, who labored with a era of gamers via the junior nationwide groups all over 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 stage of persistence 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 long run.
The efficiency of Harib Abdallah of their remaining two video games — in opposition to 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 long run. For a protracted interval within the recreation in opposition to Australia he appeared like being the distinction, such was his menace down the left-hand facet of the sphere.
Because the earlier golden era fades away, it’s gamers resembling Abdallah, Ali Saleh, Yahya Al-Ghassani and Khalfan Mubarak — when he can get himself match — that can take the group 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 in opposition to Australia, he began the inexperienced duo of Khaled Al-Dhanhani and Abdullah Hamad, who between them had fewer than 10 caps. That augers properly for the long run.
The long run is what you make it. What’s going to the UAE make of theirs?