A row over the recording of an Asian Cup warm-up game has affected Kuwait’s preparations but the Gulf side still feel they can upset hosts Australia in Friday’s tournament opener.
Their friendly against the United Arab Emirates at the weekend was abandoned as the teams lined up in the tunnel, after the UAE refused to allow Kuwait to record the game.
Kuwait defender Khaled Ebrahim said the UAE feared that Kuwait coach Nabil Maaloul, who previously managed Qatari club El Jaish, might forward the videotape to the Emirates’ Group C rivals Qatar.
“Our coach used to be in Qatar,” Ebrahim told reporters on Monday. “Qatar and the UAE are in the same group and they think our coach will give Qatar the video.”
Emirates officials insisted both sides had agreed to play the match behind closed doors without any recording or media presence, accusing Kuwait of using threats to get their way.
“The Kuwaiti delegation has unfortunately declined to adhere to the previous agreement (which) clearly stipulated that the match should not be telecast, recorded or open for the media and the public,” the UAE football association said in a statement.
“But the Kuwaitis insisted on filming the game. The Kuwaiti team manager escalated the situation and threatened that the match could be cancelled unless their requirement (was met).”
Despite the Gold Coast fiasco, Kuwait’s players are ready to rumble when they face the Socceroos in Melbourne, promising to take the game to the home side.
“Kuwait are not scared of any team,” said midfielder Abdullah Al Buraiki. “Kuwait respect all teams that play against us. Australia are a very good team (but) we will do our best to win.”
Kuwait, ranked 124th in the world but Asian Cup winners in 1980, have beaten Australia in five of their previous 10 meetings, losing just three times with two draws, the Socceroos last coming out on top in 2006. – Agence France-Presse