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UAE poster boy Omar Abdulrahman sidelined for months after ACL tear, will miss Asian Cup

Published at :October 25, 2018 at 3:14 PM
Modified at :October 25, 2018 at 3:14 PM
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Atrayo Bhattacharya

The midfielder will require surgery and then a long stretch of rehabilitation too.

It is a sad news for the football fanatics in UAE as their poster boy Omar Abdulrahman will remain sidelined for the entirety of the Asian Cup.

The midfielder was seen clutching his right knee in anguish while being stretchered off the field. The midfielder suffered a tear to his cruciate ligament on Saturday night in a match between Al Hilal and Al Shabab in the Saudi Pro League.

The midfielder is on loan at Al Hilal and the club cleared the air by spreading the news of his injury via social media following the scans on Tuesday, which said, " Following medical tests carried out on Al Hilal’s UAE player Omar Abdul Rahman, he has been diagnosed with an ACL tear, and the operation appointment will be determined later.”

The UAE midfielder will require surgery and then a long stretch of rehabilitation too and by most estimates, the recovery will stretch far beyond the showpiece event in 2019.

Abdulrahman is basically the fulcrum of the UAE side and now head coach, Alberto Zaccheroni will have to look elsewhere for reinforcements. Abdulrahman has always been a threat for oppositions, and his creativity in midfield has always been an added advantage for both club and country. The 27-year old has also won the Asian Player of the year back in 2016 and since his move to Al Hilal from Al Ain he has been in scintillating form.

It is not only a loss only for UAE but for the tournament as well, Abdulrahman is one of Asia's most decorated footballers. He was sensational in this event four years ago in Australia where UAE finished with the bronze. Abdulrahman gained huge plaudits for his efforts and was also awarded Asia's best player in the following year.

It will be a big blow for him as this year the event will be happening in his home soil and with him being in his peak it was certainly a golden opportunity for UAE to clinch the trophy. Although it is still possible but without their main man in midfield the job is even more difficult.


Alberto Zaccheroni will now have to pull a rabbit out of his hat in conquest to search for an ideal replacement, as the options aren't many. The 27-year old was not only the prime service provider for forwards Ahmed Khalil and Ali Makhbout but also an able goalscorer and most importantly he also controlled the tempo of the game. Options aren't many and by the looks of it, Al Jazira midfielder Khalfan Mubarak will fill the shoes.

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Mubarak, 23, is the obvious replacement as he is also an adroit passer and has excelled in his team with unrivalled 7 assists. But the midfielder is still young and inexperienced for a big stage like Asian Cup and he also hasn't been able to replicate similar form in the national colours.

The hosts, UAE are in Group A clubbed with India, Bahrain and Thailand and will get the tournament going with their opening match against Bahrain on 5th January.