Matar returns to UAE squad for Austria tour

Barnaby Read 15:32 10/08/2014
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Heroes return: Ismail Matar is one of the most recognisable faces in UAE football.

Al Wahda striker Ismail Matar has returned to the UAE fold after being called-up to the 26-man squad headed to Europe from August 13 to September 8.

Matar, whose goals led the UAE to their first trophy – the 2007 Gulf Cup of nations – and figured in the 2013 squad that lifted the same title in Bahrain, has not featured for the Whites since being dropped for the side’s final 2015 Asian Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan.

Sharjah goalkeeper Mohamed Yousif also returns to the fold having been dropped for the team’s friendlies against Armenia and Georgia in favour of Al Ahli’s Ahmed Mahmoud.

Young trio Ahmed Rabea, Ali Salmeen and Yousif Saeed are also casualties from those fixtures in May, where UAE coach Mahdi Ali selected an experimental squad.

The party will gather on Wednesday August 13 when they fly to Austria for three friendlies against Norway on August 27 in Oslo, Lithuania on September 3, and Paraguay four days later.

The players will gather in Vienna, separately flying out from their respective pre-season camps with their clubs.

Al Ain players selected for the tour will join up with their international team-mates on August 28 after their AFC Champions League quarter-final against Al-Ittihad.

The UAE – ranked 65th in the world and fifth in Asia – are preparing for the 22nd Gulf Cup (Khaliji 22) in Riyadh from November 13 to 26 and the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 from January 9 to 31, 2015.

Al Ahli and Al Ain are the most represented Arabian Gulf League sides in the squad with each team boasting a total of seven players headed to Europe.

UAE squad
Goalkeepers: Ali Khuseif, Khalid Essa, Mohammed Yousuf
Defenders: Mohammed Ahmed, Muhanad Al Enazi, Ismail Ahmed, Essa Ahmed, Walid Abbas, Mohamed Jaber, Shahin Abdulrahman
Midfielders: Khamis Esmail, Omer Abdulrahman, Mohammed Fawzi, Amer Abdulrahman, Abdulaziz Sanqour, Ahmed Dada, Haboush Saleh, Ahmed Ali, Abdulaziz Haikal, Majed Hassan, Habib Fardan, Ahmed Khamis
Forwards: Ismail Matar, Ali Mabkhout, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil

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