Emirati Omar Yabroudi says it’s “a dream come true” after being appointed as the first team performance analyst and technical scout at Nottingham Forest.
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The 25-year-old joins the English Championship club after a three-season stint at Barnet FC as performance analyst and head of recruitment and leaves the London side in League Two after winning promotion last season.
While he enjoyed every moment with the Bees, Yabroudi says it was hard to turn down a job with two-time European champions Nottingham Forest after speaking to coach Dougie Freedman.
The pair first met in 2011 when Yabroudi was head academy performance analyst at Crystal Palace and worked under Freedman.
“It was in February when I was with Barnet that I got a call from Dougie Freedman and he spoke to me about the possibility of joining up with him at Nottingham Forest,” reveals Yabroudi.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) May 21, 2015
“At that time, it was quite difficult for me to leave Barnet as it was the middle of the season and we were also going for promotion. I said to him I would wait until the end of the season and think about it.”
And now Yabroudi cannot hide his delight after seeing the facilities at the club last week.
“There was a real buzz when I travelled to the stadium (City Ground); one that you only get a few times in your life,” he added.
“Nottingham Forest is a club with a rich culture, a great history and it really is a dream come true for me.”
His job responsibilities will include scouting for talent and analysing match videos before relaying the information to the coaching team.
“I have a good knowledge in the international market and will be looking to scout for players who can help Nottingham Forest succeed.”
He added: “Working for Dougie Freedman is a great honour. He has a great stature as a player and coach and we share the same vision and ideas.”
Asked about what he aims to achieve with Forest, Yabroudi said: “The ultimate goal is to help them get promoted to the Premier League. The Championship is very competitive and we will all need to work hard.”
Roped in by then coach Edgar Davids in 2012, Yabroudi’s contribution at Barnet had been widely praised by manager Martin Allen.
Reflecting back on his time with Barnet, Yabroudi said: “My time at Barnet has been a remarkable journey. I’ve been there for three years. It’s been a rollercoaster ride.
“There have been ups and downs with us fighting to avoid relegation and then push for promotion. I’ve enjoyed my time at Barnet.”
Al Nasr captain Brett Holman has urged his team-mates to “leave nothing on the pitch” when they fight for a President’s Cup final berth against Al Shabab tonight.
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The Blue Wave have proved to be knockout-competition kings this term, also winning the Arabian Gulf Cup and reaching the GCC Club Cup semi-finals.
Their spell as holders of the latter tournament was ended by their imminent rivals, adding extra spice to the clash at Al Maktoum Stadium.
Ivan Jovanovic’s men faced disappointment at the same stage of the President’s Cup against eventual-winners Al Ain last term and Holman believes their exploits since would ensure that a repeat was avoided.
— Al Ain FC – EN (@alainfcae_en) May 23, 2015
“All the boys will know, you do not have that many opportunities to be so close to winning the President’s Cup,” the 31-year-old former Aston Villa and AZ Alkmaar midfielder said.
“Win or lose, every player has to give everything they have as there is a massive carrot on the end of the stick. When the going gets tough, the Nasr boys know how to work for each other and fight for the result.
“The great thing about our team is that we have shown in all cup competitions this season we are prepared to dig deep. If one of our team-mates needs help or is struggling against their opposite number, then we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves.
“The key thing is to give everything we have and leave nothing on the pitch. I am very confident that will happen.”
Shabab have enjoyed a stellar first campaign under coach Caio Junior, finishing third in the AGL and securing GCC glory in a penalty shootout against Oman’s Al Seeb on Wednesday.
Central to this has been giant striker Edgar Bruno. The Brazilian only scored eight goals in 25 top-flight appearances in 2014/15, but his joint-leading return of eight assists provided the platform for key attackers Henrique Luvannor and Carlos Villanueva to excel.
“Everybody knows with Al Shabab that everything goes through the big fella [Edgar] up front,” Holman said. “They play really well around him.
“The key thing is to neutralise that threat defensively and make sure they cannot play to their strengths. If we manage to do that, there is a great flipside as having more of the ball on the counter-attack will make us a lot more dangerous going forward.”
Nasr could be forgiven to aiming for revenge against Shabab this evening. But 63-time capped former Australia international Holman believes the confidence gained from their excellent 1-0 quarter-final triumph against Al Ain negated such a viewpoint.
He said: “There is no element of revenge. We are playing in totally different circumstances – this game will come down to who wants it more. Coming off the victory against Al Ain, the boys are in a great condition with our tails up.”
The DSC Etihad Monday Night 7s football tournament is all set for a grand finale next week at the Sports Village at Dubai Sports City with four sides still in with a chance of securing the ultimate prize.
Cobra Kai will play former champion side The Dane Landers while Taaj will take on DMI in the semi-finals, with those four line-ups each just two games away from lifting the trophy.
And in the last four of the Plate competition another former champion side, Victory Heights FC, drawn from the golf course community alongside The Els Club at Dubai Sports City, will face the Gravitons and PIC FC must overcome Leo Pharma.
The matches will represent the climax of the latest edition of the tournament, now sponsored by Etihad Airways, that began with 24 teams playing under the floodlights of the Dubai Sports City Football Academy.
The sides were divided into two groups with the top six from each after the first stage going into the Cup competition while those that remained contested for the Plate.
— DSC Football Academy (@DSCFootball) April 27, 2015
The Dane Landers qualified for the semi-finals of the Cup competition as the runner up in Group A in the second stage, sealing that spot by just one goal from Emirates.
Both sides finished with identical records – played five, won three, drawn one and lost one – but in the final analysis it was The Dane Landers’ 6-1 success against Kelloggs that just gave it the edge in terms of goal difference against Emirates.
Cobra Kai topped Group A, two points ahead of The Dane Landers, and sealed its position thanks to a 3-2 win against Kelloggs and a 4-1 success versus Zagros.
In Group B Taaj qualified as the only side in the Cup competition to remain unbeaten through the second stage, with a record of four wins and a draw from five matches.
Taaj cemented its place at the top of that Group B thanks to wins against the Sweaty Cockneys (2-0), the Snailmen (2-0) and the UAE Boys (1-0) and it finished three points ahead of DMI (played five, 10 points).
Lukoil was the unlucky side in that Group, just one point back from DMI. DMI’s final two matches, with successes against the Snailmen (4-0) and the UAE Boys (3-0) contrasted with Lukoil’s run to the line, with a 1-1 draw with the UAE Boys costing it that semi-final spot.
In the Plate competition, Victory Heights FC, so often a side that has produced great form at the back-end of past tournaments, did it again by qualifying for the semi-finals with a record of five wins from as many matches.
It achieved that feat by scoring 18 goals and not conceding any and it will present a formidable obstacle to the Gravitons in one of those Plate semi-finals.
The winner of that match will face either Leo Pharma or PIC FC in the Plate final.
The seven-a-side tournament takes place on the grass and artificial outdoor pitches of Dubai Sports City’s Sports Village.
— DSC Football Academy (@DSCFootball) May 5, 2015
That is within sight of the office of former Real Madrid and Spain legend Michel Salgado, now the Director of Spanish Soccer Schools (SSS), the Dubai Sports City coaching programme for five to 16 year-olds that already has well over 1000 children enrolled in just its second year of operation.
SSS won the Gold award for Best Youth Development Programme at the Sports Industry Awards in Dubai in March.
Reflecting on the latest action and looking ahead to the finals, Dubai Sports City General Manager – Sports Business Maqbul Dudhia said: “We are all set for a great conclusion to this DSC Etihad Monday Night 7s.
“As ever, it has been a terrific tournament so far and with the four best sides through to the semi-finals of the Cup competition we have every reason to expect some really high-quality action during the closing stages.
“It is all or nothing now for all the sides that remain in both the Cup and Plate events and the teams really have relished the conditions they have played in, something that has made the tournament even better.
“Dubai Sports City’s world-class facilities at our Sports Village have been used extensively by English Premier League clubs West Ham United – twice – Swansea City and Newcastle United, as well as AFC Bournemouth which is joining that top flight next season, and we are delighted they are being equally well employed in this event that, in its ninth edition, continues to go from strength to strength, just like Dubai Sports City as a whole.”