x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Nasr target local community with new tournament

Iranian, Jordanian and Syrian football fans in UAE will be in for a treat when top clubs from their home country meet at the Al Nasr International Challenge next month.

DUBAI // Iranian, Jordanian and Syrian football fans in UAE will be in for a treat when top clubs from their home country meet at the Al Nasr International Challenge next month. Nasr will play host to regional powerhouses Piroozi, Al Karama and Al Faisaly at the Maktoum Stadium in a three-day four-team pre-season tournament on August 29. Iran's Piroozi boast Asia's biggest fan base, while Al Karama have been the Syrian champions for the past four years and were the runners-up in the 2006 Asian Champions League. Al Faisaly have won 30 league titles in Jordan.

"This tournament is for the Syrian, Jordanian, Iranian and Al Nasr fans to come, enjoy good football and get up and close with their stars," said Sheikh Maktoum bin Hashar al Maktoum, the chairman of Al Nasr's board of directors. The tournament is part of Nasr's plan to involve expatriates of various denominations with the club in the coming years. "One of the key initiatives for this club is to re-engage with a wider community while embracing the local culture at the same time," said Michael Rodosthenous, the club's general manager.

"We are hoping that the Iranian, Syrian and Jordanian comm- unity will embrace this tournament and club." The tournament is the brainchild of Jassim al Hammadi, director of Champion Sports. "We spoke with teams like Al Ittihad from Saudi Arabia, Qatar's Al Gharafa and Zamalek of Egypt, but they had other commitments," he said. "The teams we have coming are among the best in this region, so it should be exciting. We are expecting more than 10,000 people every match."

arizvi@thenational.ae