Asian Football Confederation
A delegation from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) visited Emirates and Ajman yesterday. The AFC representatives will tour all 12 Pro League clubs over the next five days, and on Tuesday inspected Al Ain and Dubai where they were told how the teams are marketing themselves in the professional era. During these visits to the top clubs, discussions will take place regarding attendances and media relations. The delegation has also been reviewing the readiness of clubs to host Asian Champion League games by looking at criteria such as organisation, marketing and media, transportation, logistics of hotels, communication and attendances. Today they will visit Sharjah and Baniyas.
Pro League Fixtures
The Al Shabab-Dubai match, which was scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at Dubai's home pitch at 6.35pm, has been switched to the following day with the same kick-off time and venue. This move was requested by Al Shabab, who face Al Arabi of Kuwait on October 19 in the GCC Clubs Champions league and a President's Cup semi-final. Other fixture changes include the sixth round matches of, Dubai-Ajman, Al Jazira-Emirates and Al Wasl-Al Shabab. They are rescheduled to be played on Saturday, December 3 instead of December 1 and 2 at 6.15pm, 6.20pm and 9pm at Dubai, Al Jazira and Al Wasl's home grounds, respectively. Baniyas-Al Ain and Sharjah-Al Nasr go ahead on December 4 at 6.20pm and 6.15pm, while Al Ahli and Al Wahda play the concluding game in this round at 9pm on the same date.
Baniyas are still searching for a new defender after they did not offer a deal to Fabry Destin Makita, the Congo international. The 27 year old was on trial last week. "We did not sign Makita so the club is looking elsewhere," said a Baniyas spokesman. Jorvan Vieira, the Baniyas coach, is hoping to fill his one available foreign spot with a quality centre-half before the Pro League begins.
Al Ahli are offering season passes for their fans, with plenty of goodies thrown in. A first-class pass, worth Dh700, comes with an original team jersey and discount coupons from many of Ahli's sponsors. The "second class" season pass has been priced at Dh100. It will allow the holders access to all their matches and other events around the team.
Frankie Vercauteren, the Al Jazira coach, has been left in no doubt about how important it will be to beat Al Ain. The Belgian's team travel to the Garden City club tomorrow for an Etisalat Cup match and he has not been able to avoid what this rivalry means in UAE football. "I know some games are more important than others and the fans believe this is one of them," he said. "People have told me about the derby with Al Ain, but we have to treat it like a normal game and leave everything else to other people. But I have been made aware what this game means."
Nayef Salem, the 20-year-old defender from Al Wahda, was given new three-year contract yesterday. Salem is a product from the Wahda academy and made his first team debut in the 2009/10 season, playing just one game. He will provide cover for the likes of Hamdan Al Kamali, the Olympic team captain and central defender, and the experienced Basheer Saeed.