The FIFA Club World Cup is about to take place in Abu Dhabi between 9th and 19th December. The competition sees the champions of the six continental federations compete for the title and the honour to wear the FIFA Club World Badge until the next Championship.
This will bring back memories of my visit in 2007 when U. A. E. won the Gulf Cup. The games will be played at two stadiums Zayed Sports City(49,500) and the Judi Onlain stylish Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium (42,056), which has added an extra tier to three sides since my last visit.
One of FIFA’s improvements to the format of the competition has been the introduction of a team from the host country competing. This has livened affairs and helped generate more interest amongst the locals.
This time the honour goes to Al Ahli (Which simply means “national’ in Arabic) who won the U.A.E. 2008-9 league title. However this season they currently lie 6th in the 12 team league without a win at home. They did manage to win their last league game on Friday 3-0 at bottom club Ajman.
Al Ahli come from neighbouring Dubai. I am not sure what the Abu Dhabi residents will make of that. It feels like the equivalent of playing the tournament in the UK at Old Trafford with Liverpool representing. Now how would that go down.
Al Ahli, you may have heard of as they were the club involved in the friendly brawl with Chelsea in August this year, accused of karate kicks, knee-high tackles hair pulling out and eye gouging.
I believe they were named after the Egyptian champions who also hold the record for the most appearances in the World Club Cup. Their appearance will mean that …