As the UAE and KSA national teams gear up to face each other on 29 March 2016, Nike has given football fans the power to decide which special edition football boots Omar Abdulrahman (UAE) and Salem Al Dossari (KSA) will wear in the match.
Nike has created three designs each for the two players and has opened it up to a public vote. Fans can check out the three designs and vote for their favorite on gonike.me/vote_UAE (UAE) and gonike.me/vote_KSA.
Omar Abdulrahman, the UAE attacking midfielder has urged fans to check out the three designs and cast their vote.
“I am excited that Nike is empowering my fans with the opportunity to select the pair of boots I will be wearing on the pitch. I am looking forward to a strong show of support for the best design,” he said.
Abdulrahman’s Saudi counterpart Salem Al Dossari was equally excited for fans to get involved in the process:
“I cannot wait to see which design KSA fans will choose for our match against UAE. It is very cool that Nike has put them in the driver’s seat, with full control of what best represents the energy of the team.”
The winning boot will be announced ahead of the game and the two players will wear the designs with the largest number of votes for the face-off on 29 March 2016.
In addition to voting for their favorite design, consumers based in the UAE and KSA can also now log onto Nike.com and buy their favorite Nike products from around the world. Consumers can also create their own customized Nike sneakers through the NIKEiD tool.
Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are the two standout names who will be appearing at the sixth Hamdan Bin Mohammed International Football Under-17 Championship in Dubai next month.
They will be joined by Brazil’s Internacional and Hilal of Saudi Arabia in facing Al Nasr, Al Ahli, Al Wasl and Hatta from the UAE.
The Dubai Sports Council-organised tournament will be held at Dubai Police Officers Club from April 8-17.
Teams have been drawn into two groups, with Dortmund, Hilal, Hatta and Al Wasl competing in pool one and Real Madrid, Internacional, Al Nasr and Al Ahli drawn in pool two, with the top two from each progressing to the semi-finals.
Ahmed Salem Al Mahri, manager of the championship, said: “The organising committee is keen to call some top and famous clubs of different football schools to provide our local clubs with new technical benefits and distinctive experiences.
“The main goal of the championship is to enable Dubai clubs’ players to compete against top teams in order to gain new technical levels and acquire distinctive experiences.”
The sixthth edition of the championship will be sponsored by Emirates Flight, Audi Automobile, Dubai Sports Channel and the Events Insurance Committee and will be supported by Movenpick Hotel, Belhasa Holding, Evenok and Caltex.
A tournament that has unearthed some of the most prominent UAE footballers in the 16 years it has been running will kick-off in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The Zayed International Youth Cup will be hosted by Al Wahda, with the opening and final games being played at the Arabian Gulf League side’s Al Nahyan Stadium, while others will be played at the Clarets’ Al Shahama academy.
Fellow capital clubs Al Jazira and Bani Yas will also feature at the Under-15 tournament, along with Egypt’s Al Zamalek, Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal and Partizan Belgrade of Serbia.
The winners of the league-based tournament will be crowned at Al Nahyan on Friday, March 25.
Speaking at the press conference to announce the tournament on Monday, Wahda academy director Adil Khamis said he was proud to be associated with a competition that has produced several Emirati stars over the years, including club and UAE icon Ismail Matar, as well as current Wahda players Abdulla Al Noubi and Mohammed Al Shehhi, Al Ain striker Saeed Al Kathiri and Al Nasr defender Mahmoud Khamis.
“This tournament means a lot to Al Wahda because we have taken a lot of players from this tournament over the years,” said Khamis, a former Wahda player himself, who is also a graduate of the Youth Cup.
“A lot of players are in the first team or in other clubs in the AGL, and have played for the UAE national team too. There have been more than 20 over the years.”
Veterans, including Al Dhafra midfielder Abdulsalem Juma and Al Jazira defender Basher Saeed, who have 47 and 57 UAE caps respectively, have also taken to the field at the tournament since it was first played in 1993.
“We’re happy to organise this tournament, alongside the Abu Dhabi Sports Council who wanted to organise the tournament with the club, and we thank HH Sheikh Dhiab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the club owner, because he takes care of this tournament every year since it started,” added Khamis.
“Every year the tournament is getting better and better and the support for it is very big. We’re preparing everything and we want to make it a big one.
“We’re expecting a lot from the tournament, especially from the players. We want them to get experience and hopefully feed the first team and the national team too.”
Inter Milan, Liverpool, Bayer Leverkusen, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Marseille, Valencia and Atletico Madrid have all sent teams to compete in the tournament down the years, but Khamis explained that the club this year wanted to concentrate more on local opponents.
“We play against teams from Asia so we want to play more against these teams, to gain experience, to know more about their style of play,” he said.
“This time there is none from the Premier League or Europe because we want to have more experience of Asian clubs, but we have a plan to send players from this tournament abroad to gain experience from Europe and South America.”
The tournament will be based on a league format, with the winners being separated by goal difference in the event of a tie.
There will be prizes for the top three, while there will also be a team of the tournament, best player and best goalkeeper awards.