The FIFA Club World Cup proved to be a big hit in Abu Dhabi, where 10 days of action culminated in Real Madrid making history as the first back-to-back champions in competition history.
Local side Al Jazira surpassed expectations by reaching the semi-finals before losing 2-1 to Real Madrid, and finished fourth in the tournament.
In this week’s UAE Spotlight, Sport360 reporter Matt Jones looks back on an eventful week in the UAE capital and tells us why the Club World Cup was so successful.
We also examine Belinda Bencic’s win at Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai, as Reem Abulleil reflects on the Swiss’ fine title run. She also reveals some of the big names currently practicing in the UAE as Dubai continues to attract tennis’ top stars during preseason training.
The second edition of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup is shaping up to be another fantastic festival of football, with spaces for teams looking to take part running out fast.
Demand has been high, with teams of youngsters from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sri Lanka, and Bahrain already signed up.
Following a successful debut tournament earlier this year, the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will return to the capital on March 23-24, 2018.
Teams who sign up to take part in the Cup compete for the top prize of a trip to the Etihad Campus in Manchester, where the youngsters will train and play at the City Football Academy, the state-of-the-art facility used by Manchester City’s men’s and women’s teams.
Away from the pitch, the City Village will provide live entertainment, food and drinks, plus activities for the whole family.
Simon Hewitt, City Football Schools Abu Dhabi project manager, said: “There has been such a huge amount of interest in the second edition of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup. The event is shaping up to be an even bigger and better tournament.
“Spaces are limited, so we would encourage any teams that are interested in competing against players from all over the world to sign up as soon as possible. As a Club, we are committed to the development of youth football in this region and beyond. The Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup is an essential part of that objective and we want to encourage as many teams from across the GCC and the wider world to come together and test their football skills.”
To make the tournament appealing to even more young players, the 2018 edition will feature a new under 8s category alongside the under 14s, under 12s, and under 10s. There will also be an opportunity to enter a week-long training camp prior to the tournament kicking off.
For further information, and to register your club to take part in the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup 2018 please visit: www.citycupabudhabi.com.
Fatima Al Ali discovered ice hockey when she watched the ‘Mighty Ducks’ movies as a youngster and it wasn’t until she was 21-years-old that she realised the sport was actually practiced in the UAE.
Starting off as the photographer for the UAE men’s ice hockey national team photographer, Al Ali joined the Abu Dhabi Storms in 2011 and has been playing since then.
A few years later, she joined the men’s league.
“What got me into the men’s league is that I took a punch in the face while officiating one of the games,” she explains in the video above (provided by Abu Dhabi Sports Council).
“I wanted to play with the men’s for a long time but it didn’t work out because I’m a girl, I’m local, so they had a lot of concerns. So I was working hard to just improve myself to get better so they can accept that I can play, I can compete, I can keep up. That wasn’t enough, so I think the punch was enough to prove to them that I can play with them.”
Al Ali drew international attention in December last year when she was chosen to be a global ambassador for the NHL and she hopes to promote the sport in the UAE, and get more women playing it.
“It’s not easy to get players into the game, because it’s kind of a different game, but it’s more acceptable than other games because we’re covered from top to bottom,” added the 27-year-old.