Her­tog is back­ing his boys

Sport360 - - Football - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

Al Jazira head coach Damien Her­tog has backed his star play­ers to play an in­te­gral role for the UAE in this month’s Asian Cup 2019 af­ter the na­tional team drew their open­ing match against Bahrain on Satur­day.

Ali Mabkhout, Khal­fan Mubarak and Fares Juma were three of the five Al Jazira play­ers in the na­tional squad to be in­volved in the hosts’ 1-1 draw over Bahrain in their Group A clash at Zayed Sports City Na­tional Sta­dium.

Al Jazira’s num­ber one goal­keeper Ali Kha­seif and de­fender Khal­ifa Al Ham­madi are also in the squad keep­ing up Al Jazira’s rep­u­ta­tion for nur­tur­ing strong home­grown tal­ent for the na­tional team through its academy sys­tem.

Pro­lific striker Mabkhout and ris­ing star Mubarak had a quiet game by their own stan­dards in the Asian Cup opener, hav­ing come into the tour­na­ment on the back of some im­pres­sive dis­plays for Al Jazira. But Her­tog is con­fi­dent the pair will show their po­ten­tial over the course of this month as the UAE bid to win the Asian Cup for the first time.

“They have the skills and qual­ity to con­tinue their form so I ex­pect to see that as the tour­na­ment pro­gresses,” said Her­tog, who was ap­pointed as Al Jazira’s head coach last month. “They are ob­vi­ously very good play­ers, but their tal­ent goes be­yond that as they also make great de­ci­sions on the field that we have seen make a dif­fer­ence on reg­u­lar ba­sis this sea­son. It gives them a lot of con­fi­dence and that spreads through­out their team-mates dur­ing train­ing ses­sions and games.”

Trio: Mabkhout, Her­tog and Mubarak.

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