x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Maradona pays tribute to bereaved families

In other news from the world of UAE football, Lucas Neill admits forgetting how to celebrate after scoring a goal for Al Jazira at the Etisalat Cup.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona dedicated Al Wasl's win over Al Wahda in their Etisalat Cup match on Friday to Theyab Awana, the UAE footballer who was killed in a car crash last Sunday. Wasl beat the Abu Dhabi side 3-0, and after the match their Argentine coach said he had been moved by the experience of offering support to Awana's family. "I usually try not to speak about personal or emotional things, but after visiting Theyab's father, I have been really moved and I just wanted to share with you some of those feelings," he said. "There are bigger things in life than football. Matches are won and lost, and life goes on. But the real things in life are these tragedies that people face. These are the things that you have to stop and take some time to think about." Closer to home, Maradona also dedicated the match to the family of Waheed Ismail, the Wasl defender whose mother died.

Al Wasl

Youssef Nasser Al Sulaiman, the Kuwait international who has been linked with a move to Zabeel Stadium, watched Al Wasl's win over Al Wahda, and Maradona said the club were interested in bringing the 20-year-old Kazma striker to fill the slot for the Asian player, which has been vacant since Wasl sent the Omani defender Mohammed Al Shaibah on loan to Wahda. "We are keeping an eye on him," Maradona said. "I have spoken to Marwan bin Bayat [chairman of Al Wasl FC] about reinforcing the team with four players to be able to compete. I am looking at a central defender, a winger and a striker and the Asian player, of course."

Al Wahda

Josef Hickersberger has warned his Al Wahda side about their discipline after Salem Saleh was sent off during the defeat at Al Wasl. Saleh was dismissed, with his side already behind 2-0, for kicking out at Essa Ali, the Wasl captain. Hickersberger said: "The foul of Salem Saleh was a red card, a clear red card and I condemn such stupid actions. It was really nonsense. You cannot do this. He has played for the national team and he is expected to be aware. I cannot tolerate this. OK, we knew in advance that it will be very difficult for us, but the slow start and then the red card … what do you expect? This is too much. Whether we are one goal down or two goals down, the players, at least, have to show discipline and character. OK, you can lose [a match], but you cannot a lose a player through a red card like Salem Saleh."


Supporters will have the chance next Saturday to test themselves against the first-team players. The club will hold the Sharjah FC Soccer School Soccer Circus Skill Challenge at the Mirdif City Centre. The session, for the younger fans, will take place between noon and 2pm and costs Dh50 per person. "This fun-filled experience is intended to provide youngsters with a unique opportunity to pit their wits and skills against … players from our first team," said Tim March, the club's general coordinator.

Al Jazira

Lucas Neill joked that he had forgotten how to celebrate scoring a goal after opening his account for Al Jazira. The Australia captain struck in the 38th minute of his side's Etisalat Cup match against Dubai in Abu Dhabi on Friday night. It turned out to be the only goal of the game. And Neill, on his Twitter account, posted: "Amazing to get my 1st goal for @Jazira_uae and my 1st goal for some time - so long ago that I almost forgot what to do when you score!!!"