Emirati Fahad Ali was the star of the show at Dubai Exiles’ end of season club ball as he was named Most Improved Player. The prop-forward was presented with his award by South Africa captain Jean de Villiers, who was Exiles’ guest of honour at the event attended by more than 220 members on Friday, March 20.
Ali, who plays for Exiles 2nds, has established himself as first-choice prop since his arrival at the club, becoming a hugely popular member of the multi-national Exiles.
Head coach Jan Venter said: “Even though he showed remarkable improvement on the pitch, more important to me is the personal growth, confidence and social skills I saw develop in this young man. He became part of the team and really bought into the Exiles rugby ethos.
— Mike Wolff (@mikewolff1967) March 20, 2015
“He will go to extreme lengths to attend training sessions, be on time and only because he does not want to let his team-mates down. We are so proud to have him at the Exiles.”
Chairman Mike Wolff added: “Fahad had much to work on when he arrived at the club. But he worked hard, stuck with it and he has become a first-choice pick at prop for the second XV and a popular member of a very multi-national side.
“I was also thrilled to watch him score his first Exiles try in person this season. He is a great advertisement for what rugby can do for a young man from the Emirati community.”
Ali is also in contention for further silverware this season as he is one of seven nominated for the Senior Emirati Player of the Season accolade at the UAE Rugby Annual Awards.
The other nominees are Arabian Knights duo Hassan Al Noobi and Mohammed Hassan, Jebel Ali Dragons’ Cyrus Humayoun, Abu Dhabi Harlequins winger Adel Al Hendi, Hareb Al Azri of Al Ain Amblers and Sharjah Wanderers’ Sultan Alkaabi.
— Mike Wolff (@mikewolff1967) March 21, 2015
Ben van Rooyen, UAE Rugby Federation development manager, said: “I was fortunate to see Fahad develop into a young rugby player that epitomises the core values of rugby. I witnessed his progress throughout the season; from his first training sessions to his recent appearance for Shaheen in the Beaver Nomads tournament in Al Ain where he was the inspirational force among the forwards.”
Exiles No8 Rynardt van Wyk carried off the biggest prize on offer at the event at the Fairmont the Palm, Dubai, as he was named the club’s Senior Player of the Season.
The Spirit of Rugby award went to Ricky Robins; Alex McDonald was named Mini coach of the Year; Glynn Monks Midi Coach of Season And Peter Wane won the Youth Coach of the Season award.
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