Al Ahli Club unveiled four foreign professionals in an attempt to win the first edition of the UAE Beach Soccer League that gets under way at the Al Mamzar Beach Park from Friday.
The four foreign professionals - Madjer, Stefan Meier, Rui Coimbra and Hussain Ahmed – were unveiled by Al Ahli CEO Ahmad Hamad Khalifa in the presence of team manager Khalil Ali at the club premises late on Tuesday, just two days before the start of the league qualifiers this weekend.
Joao Victor Saraiva, alias Madjer, has been one of the best strikers coming out of Portugal in their relentless push towards international glory. Madjer, now 35, has won FIFA’s “Golden Boot” award at three Beach Soccer World Cups, in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Meier is a crucial player in the Swiss national team for whom he has been a regular since 2005, while Coimbra is known for his footballing mind in the defence for the Portugal national team.
“We are forever indebted to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his unflinching support for all our efforts at Al Ahli and we are thankful to our chairman Abdullah Al Naboodah for taking a personal interest in players of this caliber,” Khalifa told media at Tuesday’s unveiling.
As per regulations governing the beach soccer league, each club is allowed to sign four foreign professionals with just two of these allowed to be on the field during the course of play.
Backed by the Dubai Sports Council, the inaugural league has been planned in two stages with the first comprising of qualifiers held in three separate zones - Fujairah, Sharjah and Dubai. And the second stage will bring together the best eight sides from these three zones to decide the eventual UAE champion when the final stage of the league are played on April 23.
“This is a great moment for the club. It is indeed a historical moment as we introduce this new-look team of young UAE players along with the experience of such international stars. We can only be hopeful for a good start for Al Ahli this season,” Khalifa remarked.
The Al Ahli team has already commenced their preparations at the Al Mamzar Beach Park since last week. “At Al Ahli we have history and the legacy of being one of the best clubs in the UAE. We do not expect anything less than the title from these players,” the CEO added.
The first challenge for the four new professionals will be the Dubai leg of the qualifiers involving the six clubs in Dubai starting off on March 23.
“Beach soccer is a passion for me; it is a pleasure for me to be here. For me it is important to create a profile for beach soccer in the UAE,” said Madjer.