x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

New expat players expected to attract UAE futsal scouts

The previously all-Emirati teams will be allowed to field one overseas player in their five-man line-up with coaches beginning the search for new talent close to home.

A UAE Futsal League official says the new criteria surrounding foreign players, being introduced in October for the league's second full season, will have the competition's 11 professional clubs scouting for expatriate talent. The previously all-Emirati teams will be allowed to field one overseas player in their five-man line-up and non-UAE nationals will get the chance to attract the attention of a club at the Sheikh Mohammad al Thani Ramadan Tournament at Sharjah Youth Centre from August 12 to September 1

Sarmad al Zadjaly, the chief executive of the league's executive committee, expects coaches to flock to the tournament to run their rule over potential new players. "We expect to attract more international players and teams for the summer tournament because from next season league clubs will be able to include one foreign player in their squads," said al Zadjaly. "The Ramadan tournament is a key date to identify quality foreign players."

Now in its fourth year, the three-week, indoor Ramadan tournament has already attracted entries from four Futsal League clubs, Baniyas, Al Dhafra, Sharjah and Dibba al Hisn. The number of entries will be capped at 20. The event costs Dh3,500 to enter - a registration fee which covers a 12-man squad, one manager and one coach - and the winner walks away with the trophy and cheque for Dh40,000. "Hopefully our clubs will realise that there are talented foreigners already in the UAE that they can sign up for the new season," added al Zadjaly.

"They do not have to go to scouting in Brazil or elsewhere. The talent is already here." emegson@thenational.ae