SHARJAH, UAE, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Sharjah is the "second home" for Team China and has provided its best facilities to help the Chinese side to qualify for 2022 FIFA World Cup, said Eisa Al Hazami, chairman of the sports council of Sharjah, the UAE in a recent interview with Xinhua.
China's national football team has been preparing for World Cup qualifier against Vietnam in Sharjah, where it clinched three vital wins in June this year to enter the Asian qualifying final round, when the Chinese Football Association (CFA) decided to move its home games to the Emirates due to China's current international travel policy.
"UAE and China have historic ties. Our job is to support and enhance this relationship in sports aspects. We also have great infrastructure to organize any international football event," Eisa said of the reason why they accepted China's request to hold the tournament in Sharjah. "I told (the CFA) we will make the team feel at their second home, we just need two or three days to finalize that."
"We activated the emergency plan. Our management team knows the procedure and they are expert enough to handle all these issues, even during the pandemic," Eisa noted, adding that they provide the best facilities to the Chinese delegation. "We will do our best to make their mission easy."
"Our relationship is like a brotherhood relationship," Eisa said, adding that he built mutual understanding with the CFA staff even before the pandemic, when Team China participated in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in Sharjah.
Both China and the UAE are trying to qualify for the 2022 World Cup but couldn't win their first two qualifiers in the final round. "The road to Qatar will be hard. I wish both of the teams can qualify," Eisa said.
"As a matter of fact, we signed with the academy of Ajax and set up a new strategy to develop new kids and new generation. Ajax is considered the fourth largest football academy in the world. Now with advanced training technology, people are willing to send their kids to play football," the local sports chief said, adding that football has been developing quickly in Sharjah, and he is expecting broader cooperation with China in other sports areas.
"We are talking about building a new sports city of Sharjah. Now we have the plan about developing individual sports, we know China has great results in individual sports. We are planning to host players and coaches and also send our players to China," he added. Enditem