x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

A world stage

UAE¿s footballers have landed in one of the most difficult groups in this summer¿s Olympic Games in London. But don't count them out just yet.

Just as in the 1990 World Cup, it would seem the UAE's footballers have landed in one of the most difficult groups in this summer's Olympic Games in London.

Then it was eventual champions West Germany, Colombia and Yugoslavia. This year it will be hosts Great Britain, the highly-rated Uruguay and Senegal that stand in their way. The young Emirati players should be counting the days before they lock horns with their opponents, for they will be showcasing their skills, not to mention carrying their country's flag, on the world's highest stage.

Indeed the UAE will kick off the Olympic football tournament against Uruguay at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, before then facing Great Britain at Wembley. These two high-profile games, and the third at Coventry, should provide a platform that few of the players have experienced before. At Wembley in particular, they can expect solid crowds and passionate support.

The experience will be good for UAE football specifically, and UAE sport in general. It will also be a chance for stars from all disciplines to introduce themselves to the world - scouts will certainly be on the look-out for talent. But no matter the outcome, this will be a summer to savour.