Ali names uncapped young trio in UAE squad

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New faces: Mhdi Ali has handed three young players their first call-up.

Mahdi Ali has handed a trio of youngsters their first call-ups to the UAE national team for a training camp later this month, but there is again no place for Ismail Matar.

Ahmed Rabea, Ali Salmeen and Yousif Saeed have all been included by Mahdi in the 24-man party for an internal get-together on May 14, before they embark on a trip to an as yet undisclosed location in Europe six days later.

However with 13 players included from Al Ahli and Al Ain the bulk of the squad will not be available until after the President’s Cup on May 18.

Jazira forward, Rabea, 18, has enjoyed an encouraging campaign since the arrival of Walter Zenga at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium last October, scoring six goals in all competitions while deployed largely as a left winger.

Nineteen-year-old midfielder Salmeen, meanwhile, has proved a rare bright spot in a difficult season for Al Wasl, breaking into the first team and playing 18 Arabian Gulf League games, while Saeed, also 19, has scored four times as Sharjah enjoyed an impressive return to the top flight.

UAE coach Mahdi will have the chance to run the rule over the three teenagers when the Whites meet up next Wednesday and there is also a place in the 24-man squad for Ahli goalkeeper Ahmed Mahmoud, who is yet to win a senior cap despite having been called up during the Asian Cup qualifiers.

He is one of seven Red Knights players in the party and replaces Sharjah custodian Mohamed Yousif as the third-choice keeper.

There is also no room for Gulf Cup of Nations-winning winger Haboush Saleh, while the man who led the UAE to that triumph, Matar, misses out for the second international running.

The Al Wahda forward was dropped for March’s final Asian Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan but despite playing an influential role in the run of form that has seen his club side climb up to second, he has not done enough to earn a recall.

Matar, who recently signed a contract extension until 2018 at the Al Nahyan Stadium, remained philisophical on his UAE future when speaking to Sport360 last month.

“For me as a player I want to be in the national team,” he said. “But it is not a hope, it is the selection of the national coach and I have to respect that.”

UAE squad
Goalkeepers: Khalid Essa, Ali Khaseif, Ahmed Mahmoud
Defenders: Walid Abbas, Ismail Ahmed, Mohammed Ahmed, Hamdan Al Kamali, Abdulaziz Haikal, Mohannad Salem, Abdulaziz Sanqoor, Eisa Santo
Midfielders: Mohamed Abdulrahman, Omar Abdulrahman, Ismail Al Hammadi, Khamis Esmail, Habib Fardan, Mohammed Fawzi, Majed Hassan, Ali Salmeen
Forwards: Ahmed Khalil, Ali Mabkhout, Ahmed Rabea, Yousif Saeed, Salem Saleh

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TEKA cup champions prove to be a Kut above

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Podium party: Kut Kut (c) celebrate their triumph in Dubai.

Following more than two months of intense competition, Kut Kut have been crowned TEKA UAE Partners Football Cup 2014 champions.

Kut Kut went into the showpiece game unbeaten in the final stages of the six-a-side tournament and duly beat DAMAC 3-0 in the final in Dubai earlier this month to walk away with the victory that gave them the cup and also a Dh30,000 cash prize.

DAMAC could at least console themselves with Dh15,000 and the golden boot for Ibrahim Shaaban, who top-scored with 14 goals.

Kut Kut and DAMAC were joined in the final round of the competition by Al Fursan, Al Shaya, Dubai Ceramic Center, Delta, Dheeraj & East Coast and Kitchens & More.

Al Fursan and Kitchens & More played for the third spot and Kitchens & More made amends for missing the final, winning the play-off 5-0 and picking up Dh7,000.

The six-a-side football competition is one of the UAE’s premier corporate tournaments and comprised of eight groups of Teka’s clients and partners, with Teka’s own team, making a total of 32 teams and over 250 players.

Commenting on the success of the tournament, Arturo Manso, Managing Director of Teka UAE and Teka Middle East, said: “This is the third edition of the TEKA UAE Partners Football Cup and the tournament is going from strength to strength.

"We are glad to see that our goal has been accomplished: to share good times with our partners and clients beyond business time and to reinforce our personal relations and team work.”

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Sample the best of British at the Sport is Great exhibition

Jay Asser 21/04/2014
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Legends on show: John Barnes greeted fans at the Sport is Great exhibition in Harvey Nichols.

The UAE has received an injection of British fashion and football with the launch of the ‘Sport is Great’ initiative at Harvey Nichols in Dubai.

The campaign, organised by VisitBritain in collaboration with the department store, officially began on March 23, 2014, and will run for the next month to May 20.

The main attraction is an exhibition by the UK’s National Football Museum, which showcases a number of historical artifacts, such as a Bobby Moore shirt, the FA cup, the Premier League Trophy and a life-sized mannequin of Pele.

Edward Hobart, Her Majesty’s consul general to Dubai, said: “The Embassy is delighted to be part of this initiative which showcases Britain as a world-class leader in fashion and sports.

“The collaboration between the British partners present here provides an excellent opportunity for our friends in the UAE to find out more about Britain, and encourages them to explore it for themselves.”

Along with the historical display, the promotion will bring famous British football legends for a meet-and-greet in store.

Virgin Atlantic is also partnering with VisitBritain to offer a wide range of prize packages which includes Premier League signed football shirts and the grand prize, a trip for two to the UK to watch a live match. “

This month-long promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness around the diverse tourism platform Great Britain has to offer,” said Brad West, country manager for Virgin Atlantic.

“And now with Virgin Atlantic flying to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh via London Heathrow, they’re all a little bit closer to the UAE.”

The store will sell merchandise branded by some of the best football clubs in Great Britain like Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.

And with the World Cup right around the corner, Brazil 2014 items will also be widely available.

Britain has identified the UAE as a growing market with interest in football, particularly the Premier League.

Sumathi Ramanathan, regional manager of Asia Pacific and Middle East for VisitBritain, is looking to take advantage of the wide interest and not only attract the UAE to Britain, but bring some of the UK to the UAE.

“Through this partnership, VisitBritain aims to build on the growing importance of British Football, a key attraction to Emiratis visiting Britain,” said Ramanathan.

“We know there is an increase in demand for British tourist products in the region, and with our partners we are working towards broadening our offering. Including UK’s National Football Museum in this activity will showcase to potential travellers the quality and diversity of attractions available in Britain for visitors from this Region.”

What: Sport is Great exhibition
Where: Harvey Nichols, Dubai
When: March 23-May 20
Website: www.visitbritain.com

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