The on-pitch drama in the Euros – from co-hosts Poland falling at the first hurdle to England’s apparent resurgence – has overshadowed the drama of the UAE’s domestic game, especially the antics of Al Wasl’s firebrand goalkeeper Majid Nasser. The 28-year-old has always enjoyed (if that’s the right word) a degree of infamy since his arrival in Dubai, though his assault on players of Bahrain’s Al Muharraq Club in the Gulf Club Cup final proved a step to far. Maradona blamed the keeper for his side’s eventual loss on penalties, while Nasser’s teammates, rather than taking to the pitch wearing Suarez-style T-shirts (as Liverpool players foolishly did after the Uruguayan’s choice words to Patrice Evra in last season’s Liverpool-Man Utd clash), called for him to be banned from football for life – which has now happened. With friends like these…
Interestingly, many UAE football fans believe Nasser’s antics have much to do with the fact he’s from Fujairah. Odd – it seems such a relaxed place.
After a trophy-less and pretty rubbish first season with Al Wasl, manager Maradona’s fate is, at the time of writing, in the balance after the club’s board of directors – every last one of them – tendered their resignation. If the Argentine ‘legend’ (so-called for his abilities as a player, rather than manager) were to be dismissed, Insider would like to suggest approaching recently unemployed Harry Redknapp. Surely Goo’ ol’ ’Arry would be rather taken with Dubai’s tax-free environs? What’s more, he also has a proven ability to get the best from distinctly average teams.
In other locally based sporting news that doesn’t involve any locally based sportsmen or women (only in Dubai), Australia and Pakistan are set to play three one-day cricket internationals and three Twenty20 internationals on UAE soil. However, the sides are scheduled to play in sizzling August, though have been offered some (but not much) respite from soaring temperatures with the possibility of starting games at 5.30pm
rather than the traditional 3pm.
It’s going to be a sweaty affair for fans and players alike.