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Mendes looking for fresh challenges.

Summary: Former UAE and Japan beach soccer coach looking forward to bigger challenges

Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter

Dubai: Top coach Marcelo Mendes is convinced the annual Huawei Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup will hasten the grassroots development and strengthen the UAE national squad over a period of time.

Mendes, who was in-charge of the UAE for a period of seven years from 2007, is in Dubai to attend the fifth edition of the Fifa Beach Soccer Workshop to be held on Friday and the Beach Soccer Stars night to recognise excellence in sport on Saturday.

After his seven-year stint in the UAE, Mendes was given a three-year contract with the Japanese national team that concluded in August this year. During his tenure, the UAE went on to be crowned the champions of Asia on two occasions while they also won the Asian Beach Games held in Oman. The team also qualified for the prestigious Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup on four occasions - three on them on the trot from 2007 to 2009, while the fourth was a trip to the edition in Tahiti in 2013.

"I have tremendous respect for what Mohammad Abbas [Al Mazmi] is doing with the national team. This tournament will definitely assist in the growth of beach soccer in the UAE and hopefully we will have a few more youngsters getting inspired and coming through into the national squad," Mendes said.

"This tournament is like the second most important competition in the world of beach soccer after the Fifa World Cup, and it is but natural to have the attention of the entire beach soccer world. I am sure such things can only benefit sport here."

After Japan, Mendes relocated to Bangkok with his wife and two children. The Brazilian was nostalgic about his time in the UAE. "I've had some lovely moments here, but now there are fresh challenges before me with at least three or four countries getting in touch with me," Mendes said.

"I am in no hurry to make a decision. When the right team comes along I will go," he added.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 3, 2017
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