Bakhit eyeing revenge against Saudi Arabia

Dubai: Former UAE star striker Zuhair Bakhit is eyeing a possible final between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the 2019 Asian Cup on home turf.

Bakhit, who played in three Asian Cups as well as the 1990 Fifa World Cup in Italy, was one of the star attractions at the draws ceremony for the 2019 Asian Cup held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, late on Friday.

Hosts UAE were drawn to face Bahrain, India and Thailand in Group A of the continental competition that is scheduled to kick off on January 5, 2019.

Now 50, Bakhit went scoreless through the tournament 22 years when the hosts ended on the losing side in the penalty shoot-out against Saudi Arabia in the final. The former Al Wasl strikeman now wants to see a talented bunch of players make amends for that miss.

“I would love to see the UAE produce the same form and reach the final against Saudi Arabia. I want this team to first reach the final because we have some good quality players in this team. By quality I mean players like Omar Abdul Rahman, Ali Makhbout and Ahmad Khalil who are all capable of making a difference and winning the trophy,” Bakhit told Gulf News.

“With players like these we have to reach the final. I know it will be difficult to reach the final, but I believe this bunch of players have the depth to win this trophy with the crowd as the 12th member backing the team. Saudi Arabia can be a worthy opponent and our current team can avenge our loss of 1996. At least some of the pain will be forgotten,” he added.