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AFC Asian Cup 2019, Team Preview: Yemen

ANALYST
Preview
361   //    05 Jan 2019, 21:03 IST

Abdulwasea Al-Matari from Yemen (Image Courtesy: AFC)
Abdulwasea Al-Matari from Yemen (Image Courtesy: AFC)

Yemen compete in their first Asian Cup tournament and find themselves in a tough Group D along with top seeds Iran, Iraq, and Vietnam. Slovakian coach Ján Kocian would be proud of his wards even if they manage draws against their mighty opponents.

Past Performance:

In the 2015 Asia Cup qualification matches, Yemen suffered defeats against Qatar, Bahrain, and Malaysia to end their campaign without a victory. 

Statistics:

Yemen kick-start their Cup against top seeds Iran. Earlier, in the qualification matches, they got past Pakistan in the first round. A poor performance in the second round with just a single victory from their eight matches pushed them into the playoffs.

They won both their matches against the Maldives to earn a shot into the final qualification round. They registered their best performance to finish in second spot behind the Philippines and qualified for the 2019 Asia Cup.

Abdulwasea Al-Matari scored five goals for Yemen during their qualification campaign.

Current Form:

Yemen played in only four matches last year and suffered three defeats, with a solitary win against lower-ranked Nepal. Their three defeats came against higher ranked Saudi Arabia, Emirates, and Syria. 

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Key Players:

Al Sailiyah striker Ala Al-Sasi, who plays in the Qatar Stars League, has sported the Yemen colors on 87 occasions, scoring 14 goals. He would need to play a crucial role for his country to carry them into the knock-outs.

Abdulwasea Al-Matari is a striker playing for Dibba Al-Hisn in the United Arab Emirates. With seven goals from 26 appearances, Yemen would look towards their lead striker to ferry them into the knock-outs.

Ala Al-Sasi in the white jersey for Yemen (Image Courtesy: Ghanasoccernet)
Ala Al-Sasi in the white jersey for Yemen (Image Courtesy: Ghanasoccernet)

Fixtures:

Monday, 07 January 2019: Yemen (135) vs Iran (29) - Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 21:30 IST.

Saturday, 12 January 2019: Yemen (135) vs Iraq (88) - Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah at 19:00 IST.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019: Yemen (135) vs Vietnam (100) - Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 21:30 IST.

Odds:

Yemen is likely to struggle against top seed Iran. The scenario is unlikely to change in their second game against Iraq. Their only chance of garnering a win is against Vietnam.

Yemen’s 2019 campaign would wind up in the group stages if they lose their final game against The Golden Dragons.

Squad:

Average Age: 26 years.

International Caps: 531.

International Goals: 34.

Head Coach: Ján Kocian (Slovakia).

Goalkeepers: Mohammed Ayash (Erbil), Saoud Al-Sowadi (Al-Saqr), Salem Al-Harsh (Al-Wehda Aden).

Defenders: Mohammed Fuad Omar (captain) (Muaither), Mudir Al-Radaei (Al-Arabi), Mohammed Boqshan (Al-Khor), Abdulaziz Al-Gumaei (Al-Mesaimeer), Ammar Hamsan (Qatar SC), Ala Addin Mahdi (Al-Rustaq), Rami Al-Wasmani (Al-Ahli Sana'a).

Midfielders: Ala Al-Sasi (captain) (Al-Sailiya), Hussein Al-Ghazi (Al-Wakrah), Ahmed Al-Haifi (Al-Kharaitiyat), Wahid Al Khyat (Al-Ahli Sana'a), Ahmed Abdulrab (Al-Wehda Aden).

Strikers: Abdulwasea Al-Matari (Dibba Al-Hisn), Mohammed Ba Rowis (Al-Wehda Aden), Ahmed Alos (Al-Wehda Aden), Emad Mansoor (Bidiyah Club), Ahmed Dhabaan (Dibba Club), Ahmed Al-Sarori (Al-Markhiya), Salem Al-Omzae (Al-Tilal), Ali Hafeedh (Al-Wehda Aden).

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