Malek Al-Shuaibi, 10, a promising young Yemeni footballer who was branded “Messi of the Arab World” at the 20th Gulf Football Championship hosted in November 2010 in Aden , is facing an uncertain future due to Yemen’s political crisis.
Al-Shuaibi is still awaiting an opportunity to fly to Spain to improve his football skills after Moammar Al-Eryani, the Yemeni Minister of Youth and Sport, pledged to facilitate the trip.
Al-Shuaibi's father said the care and attention of Minister Al-Eryani boosted the morale of all members of the family.
But after losing their home during last year's clashes that broke out in Al-Hasaba area, the Al-Shuaibi family has been forced to leave Sana'a, moving to the countryside in Dhale'a.
A representative of the family told the Yemen Times that a thief recently broke into their house and stole all the furniture purchased with the money Al-Shuaibi received as a reward for his participation in the inauguration ceremony of the 2010 Gulf Championship.
During the tournament, millions in Yemen and from around the Arab world watched in awe as Al-Shuaibi displayed his natural gifts on the field.
At that time, Al-Shuaibi was very happy with the media attention lavished on him. Journalists revealed his talent to people worldwide and sports analysts predicted a bright future for him.
Presidential orders were even issued at the tournament to take Al-Shuaibi to Spain to join a club in FC Barcelona  to improve his skills and fulfill his ambition to be a famous footballer like Lionel Messi , an FC Barcelona player in Spain.
Soon after the Gulf Championship, however, political clashes erupted across Yemen, upending the central government and sidelining government promises to Al-Shuaibi.
Now, while transitional government is tackling a host of new and urgent crises, the “Messi of the Arab World” continues to wait for his opportunity to represent Yemen on the world stage.