Whites get chance to take a bite at Uruguay in March friendly

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Danger man: Luis Suarez will be one of the star attractions when Uruguay face UAE in a friendly next March.

Luis Suarez’s Uruguay are set for an exciting meeting with the UAE after a friendly was agreed against the South American giants in 2015.

La Celeste have re-emerged as one of the world’s finest teams in recent years, reaching the last two World Cups and lifting the Copa America in 2011.

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– Omar declared fit to lead UAE Asian Cup charge

Barcelona hitman Suarez, Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and Atletico Madrid centreback Diego Godin are just some of the star names who could line-up versus the Whites on March 31 at a country or venue yet to be determined.

The mouth-watering clash was announced by coach Mahdi Ali on Wednesday.

The squad depart for a training camp on Australia’s Gold Coast next Tuesday, going on to play friendlies against Jordan on December 31 and Kuwait on January 3.

They will then travel to Canberra on January 7, prior to the Asian Cup opener in the capital against Gulf Cup holders Qatar on January 11. Moving ahead, a further friendly date has been pencilled in for March 11 next year.

World Cup 2018/Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers have been merged, with the opening round set to take place on June 10 and June 16.

It was also revealed a friendly will also be played on June 4 during a training camp that will last from June 1-16.

Meanwhile, Ali believes there is “room for improvement” in the performance levels during the opening half of the Arabian Gulf 
League season.

The majority of clubs will be playing their 13th matches in the coming days ahead of the upcoming international break.

“I won’t say my personal opinion, but the numbers give a clear picture,” ex-Al Ahli and Bani Yas boss Ali said.

“The statistics are far from international standards, there is room for improvement.

“There are many factors, but in light of the budgets and organisation the standard should be higher.”

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Dubai schools battle it out to play before AC Milan v Real

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Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo is just one of the many world class players expected to line-up in Dubai for the December friendly.

High school students in Dubai are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to kick off against each other in football matches that will immediately precede AC Milan v Real Madrid in the Dubai Football Challenge on December 30 at 7he Sevens Stadium.

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The curtain raiser to the challenge will be the semi-final and final of the Inter-School Championship, organised by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Emirates airline and Ahdaaf Sports Club.

The championship will see five-a-side teams from 10 schools compete in a qualifying stage consisting of two groups. The top two teams from each group will proceed to a semi-final round, prior to the AC Milan and Real Madrid match.

Each Inter-School Championship finalist playing at 7he Sevens will receive two tickets to the Dubai Football Challenge.

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Kids can show-off their skills at E-Sports Abu Dhabi football tournament

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Hop on board: Registration for the junior football tournament closes tomorrow.

 E-Sports are holding another junior football tournament this Friday, but there’s still time to register before tomorrow’s deadline.

The competition, to be played at GEMS American Academy in Kha­lifa City, is open to boys and girls with three age categories – U-6 (one group), U-8 and U-10 (both two groups) available. The com­petition has a round-robin stage followed by the knockouts.

The U-8 and U-10 groups will consist of six-a-side teams with matches lasting 12 minutes each, while in the U-6s age group, teams will consist of five players with 10-minute duration games.

Rules will be different compared to the traditional 11-a-side format. Among the rules implemented by E-Sports are rolling unlimited substitutions, goalkeepers being permitted only to release the ball by foot as well as not coming out of their penalty area and no off-side rules.

Thirty teams have already registered for the one-day event and with sides from Dubai and Abu Dhabi signed up, it promises to be a very competitive tournament.

“We have plenty of teams already registered which is great news,” said Rhodri Lewis, E-Sports foot­ball academy head coach.

“We have teams travelling from Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi for this competition. We ran two similar tournaments for the under-eights and under-10s last year and both were very successful.

“We want even more teams to sign up because the more teams there are, the better the competi­tion will be.”

Explaining the reason why the tournament is being held, Lewis said: “E-Sports offers a wide vari­ety of sports for children like gym­nastics and tennis. And football is very popular around the world especially here in the UAE and we want to play our part in making the sport grow and help children get active by playing sport on a regular basis.

“It’s going to be one of those football tournaments that teams will want to be a part of and we want to help promote football from a young age.” Team entries cost Dh100 with no more than 10 players in each squad. So hurry up and join the fun.

What: E-Sports Abu Dhabi Junior Football Tournament 
Where: GEMS American Academy, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi 
When: Friday, December 12 from 09:00
Contact: To register or for more info email [email protected] or phone 04 369 7817. Registration closes 17:00 tomorrow.

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