As the UAE becomes more competitive in football, we will have to get used to the migration of talented players becoming a two-way street.
UAE striker Abdulrahman has world at his feet
As any parent knows, there comes a time when your child has to leave the nest. It may be painful, but it is a necessary part of the circle of life. What applies to families also applies to nations; sometimes the most gifted sons and daughters have to travel far afield to achieve their dreams. And, for the most part, what is good for them is also good for the country.
So it should be with Omar Abdulrahman, the standout player of the Pro League and one of the heroes of the UAE's Gulf Cup victory in January. As The National reported yesterday, Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu has indicated that Abdulrahman's immediate playing future is probably abroad.
Although no firm offer is on the table - a bid from Manchester City reportedly fell through due to visa issues - it is believed that several European clubs have expressed interest in the dynamic midfielder.
While UAE football clubs are in the market for talented imports, they should also accept that the nation's own best players need overseas experience. When the best and brightest - be they sportsmen or scientists - leave, it's an investment in the future. When they return, they will bring back expertise to fuel the growth of the UAE.
High achievers like Abdulrahman also act as positive role models to young people, who need to know that there really is a world of opportunity out there.