A revolutionary online system is set to replace paper tickets in the Arabian Gulf League, beginning with this round on Thursday and Friday.
Organisers, the Pro League Committee, approved the change as part of the strategic plan which prioritises the use of technology and smart apps through strategic initiatives. Fans can purchase ticketing with ease through the website: www.platinumlist.net/arabian-gulf-league.
Prices range from Dh10-500, depending on category and class of fixture. Cheapest entry for Thursday’s meeting between Hatta and Shabab Al Ahli at Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium is Dh10 , while Friday’s top-of-the-table thriller between Al Wasl and Al Ain at Zabeel Stadium begins at Dh20.
This comes in an effort from the PLC to boost the sporting creativity culture, develop smart operations and increase adoption of modern technologies in the management and organisation of PLC competitions to deliver technological progress that matches the progress achieved on the pitch, evident in topping AFC domestic competitions ranking for four-consecutive times in one year.
Anything designed to boost the often-paltry attendances in the Arabian Gulf League has to be welcomed.
This initiative adds an air of modernity to a practice which before often felt so haphazard.
For the big fixtures, such as Friday’s huge match between Al Wasl and Al Ain, the original process was a free-for-all.
An opaque and intimidating approach made it too easy to shy away for both non-Arabic speakers and the uninitiated interested in testing out the competition. Why bother when answers for simple questions remained infuriatingly hard to find; Where can you buy them? How much do they cost? Where do you pick them up?
Now, with a few easy clicks anyone can gain access – from casual expats to the fully committed.
Such moves have been longed for. Attendance boosting is a major aim for the league, but drives have been rare.
In 2009, Al Ahli – who transformed into Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club last May – became the first club in the Middle East to sell tickets online. Few of their peers followed.
So many everyday transactions have now moved to the web, from ordering a taxi through Uber or Careem to tickets at Dubai Opera. The AGL catching up has to be applauded.
Let’s hope it is the start of a new, inclusive era.
Sebastian Tagliabue issued a stark warning to the rest of the Arabian Gulf League by vowing there are plenty more goals to come from him as he aims to fire Al Wahda to title glory – on a night the Argentine moved into clear third place on UAE football’s all-time top scorers’ list in the professional era.
Tagliabue was in sensational form in the Abu Dhabi derby on Monday, netting a hat-trick in the Clarets’ 4-2 win over champions Al Jazira at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
That brought his tally for the season to 17 goals in all competitions, sitting top of the Arabian Gulf Cup with six strikes and one behind Al Wasl hotshot Fabio De Lima on 11 in the AGL charts.
His prolific form means Wahda go into the second half of the season still in contention to earn silverware. The Clarets sit third in the AGL, two points behind joint-leaders Wasl and Al Ain, and are on the verge of reaching the semi-finals of the AG Cup following their 2-1 first-leg win over the Boss last month.
With the AFC Champions League beginning next month, as well as their President’s Cup defence, Wahda face a busy schedule in the next six months.
But Tagliabue – who now has 98 AGL goals, three behind former Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan, and scored his eighth league hat-trick, joint most in the professional era with Ali Mabkhout – is confident of continuing his fine form, although he would be happy if his goals rewarded him with the ultimate prize in UAE football.
“I think so (plenty of more goals), said the 32-year-old. “It’s my first game of 2018 and we’re in third place. I try to win as many games and my tallies have shown I’m having a good season. Winning the golden boot will be great but I want to win the league title and become a champion. If I win the golden boot that would be perfect.
“We are in a good position and two points behind the leaders but there’s still more matches to play which I hope we can win.”
Coach Laurentiu Reghecampf praised the Argentine, crediting the whole team for creating the chances for their stand-in skipper.
“I’m very happy that he scored three and was given many chances to score,” said the Romanian, who recently extended his stay at Al Nayhan Stadium until the end of 2019 season. “That is the work of all the players which we work on in training every day.”
Despite victory, Reghecampf was unhappy his team conceded twice in the last five minutes after Mohamed Al Akbari made it 4-0.
“The matches are only finished when the final whistle is blown, that’s what our players have to understand,” he said. “The two goals we conceded in the last five minutes isn’t good for us. I’m not happy, we have to be 100 per cent focused until the end of the match.”
Henk Ten Cate believes defeat to Al Wahda saw Al Jazira relinquish their Arabian Gulf League title, as Sebastian Tagliabue moved into third place on the all-time top scorers’ list in the professional era.
A 4-2 defeat in an entertaining spectacle at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Monday night saw a seven-point gap opened up between reigning champions Jazira, in fifth, and Laurentiu Reghecampf’s Clarets, who consolidated their grip on third and went two points behind joint leaders Al Ain and Al Wasl.
And Ten Cate bluntly replied “yes” when asked if he thought the title race was over for the Pride of Abu Dhabi following a third defeat of the season.
“The difference is nine points and means you have to get one more point than your opponent. It’s almost impossible and we have to be realistic,” said Ten Cate, who added that despite possessing an injury-ravaged and fatigued squad, insisted there’s reason for optimism.
“There’s a lot to win. We play in the Super Cup on January 20 and we will be there.”
Capital city rivals Jazira and Wahda will clash again at Bani Yas Stadium in 10 days’ time in the Arabian Gulf Super Cup as the delayed spectacle between league champions Jazira and President’s Cup winners Wahda finally goes ahead.
After a packed month of football which has included reaching the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup, where they pushed European and Spanish champions Real Madrid all the way before losing 2-1, Ten Cate fears his mentally and physically drained squad – Ali Mabkhout’s participation in defeat was his 11th match in a little over a month – are in “deep trouble”.
“Our team is in such a state that after the disappointment we can’t come back again,” added the Dutchman.
“This was the result that I was waiting for a long time. The players are not to blame. They staff are not to blame. We did an amazing job together but there comes a moment in time that it’s finished and that was today.
“This was a very big wake-up call and I hope everybody wakes up. It’s very difficult to speak about football in a situation that we’re in.
“It’s a mental reason. It’s not to do with technique. It’s difficult for me as coach to motivate the players and difficult for the players to motivate themselves. This is how it is.
“This isn’t to justify the defeat. This defeat was going to come one day or another. It could’ve been against Ajman or Hatta or whoever. But we are in a bad situation. It’s the mental state of the players which isn’t good. Right now, we’re in deep trouble. There’s no more willpower.
“The team doesn’t have the mental state to bounce back. Due to different circumstances which is beyond our control.”