Date: 5th June 2009 at 11:51am
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Following Al Fahim’s announcement in the last couple of days, it looks as though Pompey will be bringing a UAE international to Fratton.

Who on earth could it be? And is this really a good idea? FanZone star and part-time Vital Pompey columnist Pete Alexander investigates…

Morning all. So, the good Doctor wants to bring some Emirati talent to the Prem does he? Before we all get worried about an influx of mismatched talent, let’s just have a look at the possibilities. Using my expert knowledge of Middle East ‘soccer’ (and a little thing called the World Wide Web), I’ve narrowed my predictions to three potential stars. Here goes…

Potential target #1 – Ismail Matar

Pint-sized creative attacking midfielder (26 years old) who apparently won the Golden Ball award (player of the tournament) and the 2003 World Youth Championships. Great goalscoring record for UAE (17 in 60) and his one club to date, Al-Wahda (58 in 243). Sounds like a bit of a talisman, but has not played outside the UAE league yet. Also led his country to their first ever trophy – the 2007 Gulf Cup which was hosted in Abu Dhabi and was played by all of the Gulf nations – a half-decent, World Cup experienced team involved in Saudi Arabia, although UAE beat Oman in the final.

Likelihood rating – * * * (3 stars)

Potential target #2 – Ahmed Khalil

Recently called up to the national squad, Khalil seems to be something of a teenage prodigy. A 17 years old with an eye for goal, he finished top scorer at the Under 19s AFC Championships recently and has just been voted Asian Young Footballer of the Year 2008. Sky Sports have actually run their ‘Youth Scout’ process over him, so he’s picked up a bit of profile in recent months. He’s already reportedly had a trial with Chelski, so I’m sure there are a few eyes on him, but watch this space.

Likelihood rating – * * * * * (5 stars)

Potential target #3 – Saif Mohammed Al-Bishr

A pacy left winger (25) who is the second most expensive player in UAE history after a transfer in 2008 took him from Al Shaab to Al Ain. Bit of an outside bet, but a pretty high profile player in his homeland who is a regular with the national team, playing all of their World Cup Qualifiers to date.

Likelihood rating – * (1 stars)


I reckon Al Fahim has got his sights set on Ahmed Khalil, the rising star of UAE football and a kid who the national team reckon can put the country on the map. I ain’t no soothsayer, but don’t say you didn’t hear it here first.

Thanks for listening. You’ve been a great audience.

Written by Pete Alexander AKA pedalo.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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15 Replies to “UAE Superstar? Vital Pompey Investigates…”

  • Nice background info and I will take your word on it. Do we know what position Kahlil plays in?

  • Great report PA. Well how knows. Happy to trust the Doc & all his dosh. If the kid makes it fantastic, it won’t take long to finf out & where’s the harm in trying. I just hope he doesn’t over interfere into who we sign & just trusts the managers judgement.

  • I get the feeling he might do, you know. Double edged sword, this cash situation. If you want / need the bunce (which we clearly do), you might have to accept a liiiittle bit of interference.

  • very intresting read, cnsidering I know nothing of football outside of europe. from the three you list, Ahmed Khalil does sound the most likely – there may be others out there though maybe? anyway, Dr AlF didn’t actually mention first team, and I’m sure if maybe we played him in a few pre-season friendlies and some carling cup games that might be good enough… There are, however, plenty of merits of playing someone to increase your profile. just so long as they arn’t THAT much worse than the rest of your team. (see Park for unitied)

  • i think although it can be risky to have a meddling chairman … if it is khalil .. then why not? its time for a change, we need good youngsters … and were not exactly aloft with strikers … lets have a dig!

  • Good report Pedalo – a nice profiles. A big player has never come from this part of the world but no reason why they should not.

  • dont players from outside europe have to get a visa !?? and to get that have to play % of international games ??

    how can we sign him if he hasnt?

  • pack him off to zulte waregem? and I don’t think that playing X amount of games is especially dificualt considering the UAE team. and if they can;t get in that team, are they even worth considering?

  • If I was buying a football club for megabucks, I would find it very hard not to meddle – especially if PA was the Manager!

  • The Alexander report; today Vital, tomorrow TV world! Excellent report it made me call my mate on Dubai who agrees with you as Khalil as the most likely with Matar a good possibility

  • We also have to think of the likelihood that having a well known UAE international in our squad will raise a lot of revenue through shirt sales (ie why Park is still playing at Man U when he is definitely not that caliber of player). While I am not saying that this is entirely a financial decision on the Dr’s part, it will come into play.

  • UAE are bottom of their world cup group. They lost to 2-0 at home to South Korea at the weekend!

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