Team of hope off to Malaysia [Archives:2004/774/Sports]

September 20 2004
Yemen Times says goodbye to the Youth Team before leaving to Malaysia. YT Photo by Ramzi Al-Absi
Yemen Times says goodbye to the Youth Team before leaving to Malaysia. YT Photo by Ramzi Al-Absi
By Adel Al-Khawlani
Yemen Times Staff

Under the national coach, Amin Al-Sonaini, the youth football team flew on Saturday September 18th to Malaysia to participate in the Asian youth finals, starting from 24th September. 16 teams will take part in the championship.
Our team qualified for the finals at the expense of KSA and Oman, and will play its opening game against Thailand on Sunday 26th September in group four, which also includes South Korea (titleholder), Thailand and Iraq.
The Yemeni public is on tenterhooks to see some of the marvelous displays the team used to perform whilst juniors. Internal and external practice matches were arranged to add to the players' practice and experience.
During its three week tour of the Netherlands, the team staged three practice matches with Dutch teams, winning two and losing one.
After coming back home, the team held an internal training camp in Sana'a for roughly one month and then departed to Malaysia, the host of the championship, who staged a two-week preparatory camp during which it conducted another two practice matches with the Malaysian and Emirates teams – and thrashed them both.
Later on the players returned to Sana'a to prepare for a final short camp and have a well-earned three-day break before flying to Kuala Lumpur. The team is supposed to arrive in Malaysia on Sunday afternoon and stay for a day in the Capital Kuala Lumpur, before traveling to the city of Birac where the group four matches will take place. The team is intending to hold a warm up game with one of the two Arab teams there (Syria or Qatar) before competing in the finals said coach Al-Sonaini in a statement to the Yemen Times. He added that Yemeni Football Federation (YFF) provided the necessary facilities when running external training camps. Yemen's participation in the finals is an achievement for Yemeni football that could qualify for the Asian finals for the second time in its history. This follows the junior team's qualification in 2002.
When asked about the format of the team, the competition of the fourth group and his expectation of the games, Al-Sonaini replied “concerning the first part of the question, most of the players were in the junior team and we have only 4 new faces, namely they are :Mahdi Al-Taweel, Ala'a Al-Dhawi, Jameel Al-Soreihi and Tamer Hanash. We have prepared 26 players to represent Yemen in the finals but later on, we received information from the Asian Football Federation (AFF) that the required number is 20 players and now we are going to nominate the best players and exclude those who have injuries. There is no suggestion of who will be the main striker and we have four skilful strikers to choose from later on. The captain of the team is still Abdu Al-Edrisi whom we trust.
He is a player of sportsmanship and reason to lead the team in the field. The team is adequately prepared and the players possess high morale and are capable of shouldering the responsibility”
The answer to the second part of the question is “group four is called by sport analysts (the group of iron) and comprises two teams from East Asia, South Korea (titleholder) and Thailand, and other two from West Asia, Yemen and Iraq, there is a difference between the two schools of football. The former depends on strong kicks and fast give-and-take balls, whereas the later depends most of the time on a tactical play and individual skills.”
The answer to the third part of the question- about my expectations is that “I can neither expect nor predict for everything is possible in the globe of football. An amazing example is Euro 2004 where modest Greece kicked out all powerful giants like France and Portugal.
Finally, we warmly thank the Yemen Times for being enthusiastic and interested and for standing by the players and the great public as well.
Winning or losing is not everything in the world of football, and what does really matter is a marvelous performance to please the public.
Abdulrahman Sa'eed, Assistant Coach, affirmed that “Hope and confidence in the players is great. Through the practice matches we hardly saw any mistakes, and we hope they continue performing in this way. My last word is to thank the Yemen Times, and its editor-in-chief who is following the team's agenda and giving priority to Yemeni football. I am also grateful to the loyal public that vehemently supports the Youth Team in particular and the Yemeni football at large.”