Are you one of the 4 billion people in the world who love soccer?
Did you know soccer is the most popular sport in the world?
If you will be visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE), be sure to check out the UAE national football team.
Whether you are already a current soccer fan, or just want to see what all the excitement is about, the UAE football team will not disappoint.
They have a lot of exciting things going on with their squad!
History of the UAE
The UAE national team represents the United Arab Emirates and competes in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The AFC has 47 member countries and is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations.
While they have only made it to one World Cup, they have won the Arabian Gulf Cup twice, in 2007 and 2013.
Most recently, they have competed in two AFC Asian Cups. In 2015 they came in third. In 2019, they were the host country and made it as far as the semi-finals!
As of early April 2019, the UAE is currently ranked sixth in the AFC with 1360 points.
8 Reasons to See the UAE National Team
1. Bert van Marwijk
As of March 20, 2019, Bert van Marwijk is now the manager for the UAE with a four-year contract. Van Marwijk has a long history in football. First as a player, then later as a manager.
Van Marwijk formerly managed the Netherlands (34 wins, 10 draws, 8 losses), Saudi Arabia (11 wins, 3 draws, 3 losses), and Australia (2 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses).
Under Van Marwijk’s guidance, the Netherlands competed in the 2010 World Cup final and Saudi Arabia qualified for the finals in 2018.
Van Marwijk has set as his sole objective leading the UAE national team to the 2020 World Cup!
2. Ali Mabkhout
Ali Mabkhout is ranked #1 in the UAE, making him their most valuable player. He plays centre-forward. He was the top scorer in 2016/2017 in both Al-Jazira and UAE Arabian Gulf League. He’s a striker to keep your eye on!
3. Ahmed Khalil
Ahmed Khalil plays centre-forward for the UAE. He is currently ranked number 4 in the UAE, making him their fourth most valuable player. He is a 4 time UAE champion. A definite fan favourite to watch.
4. Omar Abdulrahman
Omar Abdulrahman loves to go on the attack when playing as a midfielder and contributed greatly to leading the UAE to their third rank finish in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. He was voted the 2016 AFC Player of the Year.
5. John Metgod
John Metgod is now Bert van Warwijk’s assistant. Metgod most recently worked as a director for Nottingham Forest. He began his career in soccer as a player in 1974. He has experience as a player, scout, assistant manager, and manager.
6. Young Rising Stars to Watch
There are a few young players to keep an eye on as they propel the UAE towards qualifying for and competing in 2020 World Cup. Yahya Al Ghassani, Mohamed Al Shamsi, Ali Saleh, and Khalifa Al Hammadi will all be providing their skills and giving their all to the UAE.
7. UAE’s Primary Grounds are Located In Abu Dhabi
Because they host their games in more than one location in the UAE, the UAE National Team will likely be playing close to places you are already planning on visiting.
Their primary grounds are located at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s second most populated city. The stadium seats 45,000 fans, making it the UAE’s largest stadium. This stadium is a traditional stadium that is open to the air outside.
8. UAE Also Hosts Home Games in Al Ain
Their secondary grounds are located at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, which is an hour and a half from Dubai. This stadium seats 25,000 fans.
The outside of the stadium has a dazzling LED display that lights up fabric creating a palm tree trunk design that also provides additional late afternoon shade inside the stadium. The stadium’s parasol roof design also provides shade for all fans.
Put Seeing the UAE Football Team on Your Itinerary
The United Arab Emirates offers many entertaining and exciting things to do and see. Make seeing the UAE football team play a part in your UAE experience!
For more info on the amazing ways to spend your time in the UAE, please check out our blog.