Rob McCaffrey talks sport

Our columnist on the cream of the local football crop

Youth football: strong in Dubai
Youth football: strong in Dubai
Rob McCaffrey
Rob McCaffrey
Juan ‘Wotsa’ Mata
Juan ‘Wotsa’ Mata
Dennis Wise: scouting for talent?
Dennis Wise: scouting for talent?

This week I had a great chat with former Chelsea captain Dennis Wise, who’s here in Dubai on holiday. His 13-year-old son Henry plays for Queens Park Rangers, and Dennis was fascinated to know just how the young footballing talent compares out here.

It’s a shame he’s back home next week because the cream of Dubai’s kids get together on Saturday April 28 for the E-Sports Cup at Al Nasr stadium. Teams from Al Wasl, Dubai, Al Nasr, Al Ahli, Shabab and, for the first time, E-Sports will compete at under-10 level. I must admit I can’t wait.

My son plays with the E-Sports boys and, at this age, their group is very special indeed. So far this season they’ve played against the Al Nasr and Al Wasl teams regularly and done really well – so well that they were invited to join in the tournament proper this time round.

Dennis is gutted he isn’t here to watch, and Henry has promised to bring his boots next time so he can join in with our guys. Having visited Dubai for the past 15 years now, Den has seen the standard rising, and it’s now a question of when the youngsters here will go back into the English League and make an impression. We’ll then find out how good they really are in comparison to the other talent in the UK.

In the meantime, Saturday’s event will showcase the best talent on offer in Dubai right now. It starts at 3pm. Come on down!

Hear Rob’s radio shows on Coast 103.2FM every Friday 11am-2pm, and every Saturday 6pm-9pm live from the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).

And another thing…

I’ve heard a brilliant nickname for Chelsea’s Spanish star Juan Mata. Apparently he’s pegged as ‘Wotsa’ in the dressing room – as in ‘Wotsa Mata?’. It’s the latest in a long line of top-class witticisms, including ‘One Size’ for QPR centre back Fitz Hall, and ‘Dissa’ for former Everton left back Neil Pointon. Unfortunately there are some absolute belters that are too rude to be included in such a venerable publication as Time Out, but I can happily mention my own personal favourite, coined by the brilliant Robbie Fowler. When Rob was at Manchester City he played alongside winger Kiki Musampa. His nickname? Chris. Think about it… Genius!

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