Al-Ahli make history by earning a berth in FIFA club world cup UAE 2009 set to compete against world football elite in front of home crowd
With their championship win in the UAE Football League (UFL) on Sunday night, Al-Ahli have become the first UAE football club in history to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup, to be played in Abu Dhabi this year from December 9th-19th. Attracting fans from around the world, the FIFA Club World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in international club football, and as the Champion Club from the host country, Al-Ahli have automatically qualified.Played annually since 2005, the event has featured some of the world’s most popular football clubs and players including most recently, Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as AC Milan and Kaka, Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane, FC Barcelona and Ronaldinho, and Vasco de Gama and Romario.Romy Gai, CEO of the UFL said, “This is a great moment for the UFL and Emirati football. Al-Ahli have rightfully earned a spot to play in the most important international club football event ever to be held in the Middle East. The strength and quality of UFL football is evident, and it’s fitting that the time has come for Abu Dhabi to host a tournament of this magnitude. We hope a whole generation of young fans will be inspired to play football, as they watch an Emirati team compete alongside the best clubs in the world on their home soil.”Ivan Hasek, Al Ahli coach said: We are delighted with the win, as we’ve worked hard for the past 10 months to achieve this victory and the FIFA Club World Cup was a huge motivation for all the teams in the UFL. To face the best clubs in the world like Barcelona or Manchester United is a historic moment for the UAE and a fantastic opportunity for Al Ahli. We have had a long season, and we have to work hard for the FIFA Club World Cup in December. We hope to see the stands full of Emirati football fans cheering us on.Current FIFA Club World Cup Champions Manchester United will be fighting to defend their title in Abu Dhabi this December, when they face FC Barcelona in the highly-anticipated UEFA Champions League final this Wednesday night in Rome.Earlier this month, Auckland City (New Zealand), of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), and Atlante FC (Mexico) representing the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 presented by TOYOTA.