Hertog is backing his boys
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.