x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Tributes flood in for the stricken Abdulrahman

Players and officials pray for the quick recovery of the Al Ain goalkeeper who was seriously injured in a car crash.

DUBAI // As the two teams assembled before the match last night, Al Nasr players unfurled a banner praying for the quick recovery of Yousuf Abdulrahman, the Al Ain and national goalkeeper, who was seriously injured in a car crash on Thursday night. It was a solemn start to the game, with little signs of the high spirits that usually come with a game between these two old rivals with passionate fan followings.

Abdulrahman suffered a broken jaw, collarbone and cheekbones when his car crashed as he drove from his home in Kalba to attend the final Al Ain training session ahead of this match against Nasr. He was rushed to a hospital in Al Dhaid before being airlifted to Rashid Hospital in Dubai. Top officials of the club spent the day at the hospital. Rashid al Zaabi, head of the media and marketing section of the Football Association (FA), who has travelled with the junior and Olympic team as head of delegation, also visited.

"Yousuf is like a son to me and one of the stars of the UAE national team," al Zaabi said. "It is a really sad moment for us and we stand beside the player and his family at this moment. "He is a real treasure for us, not just the country but the entire region and his performances at the Youth World Cup, Asian Championship and the recent Gulf Cup have just proven that." Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan, a member of the Al Ain honorary board, visited the goalkeeper, as well as Hanif Hassan, the Minister of Health. The player also had well-wishers calling from outside the country, including Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, chairman of the Qatari Football Association.

Mahdi Ali, the coach of the UAE Olympic team, and Mohammed Fawzi, who was the captain of the team that won the recent Under 23 Gulf Cup, also visited Abdulrahman at the hospital. The player is reportedly recovering well, according to Dr Khalid Mohammed Abdullah, the executive director of the Al Ain club. "The player has undergone surgery this morning on his broken jaw and cheekbones," said Dr Abdullah. "The surgery lasted three hours and he will be in the intensive care unit for 24 hours before being shifted back to his hospital room."

Al Zaabi was also confident of a quick recovery. "In such cases, the biggest fear is the risk of bleeding. But thank God that things went well and the player received proper and prompt medical attention. "He will be kept under observation for 24 hours after the surgery and will hopefully return to a normal state inside two days to continue the gradual process of treatment until full recovery." Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the president of the FA, visited the player, along with Saeed Abdul Gaffar, the vice-president.

"Yousuf is in a stable condition now," al Rumaithi said. "His condition has drawn a lot of interest from the Sheikhs, government officials and professionals from the health sector. The player is a national jewel, one of the most promising talents in the country and a young man. We wish him speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the field as soon as possible." arizvi@thenational.ae