Al Wahda's Victory Keeps the Hopes of a Region Alive

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DUBAI, UAE, December 10, 2010 - Al Wahda is off to an impressive start in its bid to be the first team
from an Arab nation to come out on top at the Fifa Club World Cup. In its
opening match against Hekari United this past Wednesday, Al Wahda finished
with a 3-0 victory.

Although Al Wahda was the expected favorite in the match, the team did
get off to a nervous start. After all, even though Al Wahda is currently the
United Arab Emirates' champion, UAE fans experienced a devastating loss last
year in the tournament when Al Ahli of Dubai fell early on in the tournament,
dashing the region's hopes for a first time victory in the Fifa Club World
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This year, however, the hope is still alive. Al Wahda looked good on the
field, with precise footwork and a strong performance. Hekari United, which
traveled from Papua New Guinea to compete, showed a strong first half
performance, holding Al Wahda scoreless for a solid portion of the match.
However, Al Wahda rallied just before the break, with quick goals from Hugo
and Fernando Baiano
within a span of four minutes, effectively sealing the
fate for Hekari United.

Al Wahda retained its dominance easily from there on out, keeping Hekari
United from the goal for the entirety of the match. Controlling the pace and
direction of the match, Al Wahda proved it has what it takes to compete on
the world stage. As an exclamation point on an already impressive match, Al
Wahda clinched its victory in the 71st minute with another goal from
substitute player Abdulraheem Jumaa. The victory clearly invigorated the
crowd of almost 24,000, who filled Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi
with raucous cheers during Wednesday night's match.

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It has been a tumultuous struggle for Arab teams, who first started
competing in the Fifa Club World Cup back in 2000. In that edition, both Al
and Raja Casablanca represented the region. Although they both suffered
first round defeats, the teams put on an impressive display, building a sense
of anticipation for future competitions. In 2005, Al Ittihad from Saudi
made a strong showing in the tournament, garnering a fourth place
finish. Etoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia competed in 2007, with another
powerful run that put them in fourth place.

In the years since, Arab teams have failed to impress in the tournament,
including Al Ahli's disappointing loss last year in the opening match. This
year, Al Wahda is the only Arab team present in the tournament, putting the
hopes of a region heavily on their shoulders. However, Al Wahda is buoyed by
a growing excitement, which has only been heightened by the announcement of
Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 tournament.

While the region celebrates this victory, Al Wahda is turning its focus
to the future. With this win over Hekari United, Al Wahda will advance to the
quarter finals and compete against Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC
of South Korea on Saturday.

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Press Contact Details: Michael Waters,, PR Team, E: michaelw at, +1-312-235-2275

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