Omar brand ambassador for U-17 World Cup in UAE

James Jose
Filed on March 7, 2013
Omar brand ambassador for U-17 World Cup in UAE

The UAE’s star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman will be the brand ambassador and will promote the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

ABU DHABI - The UAE’s star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, known as the ‘Arabian Messi,’ will be the brand ambassador and will promote the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Yousef Al Serkal, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and also the chief of the UAE Football Association, revealed as the official emblem of the tournament was unveiled at a short but impressive ceremony at the Emirates Palace Hote lawns late on Tuesday night.

The 15th edition of the tournament takes place across five of the Emirates in six cities from October 17 to November 8.

“We already have assigned Omar Abdulrahman to be the ambassador of this tournament, the player on whom we will depend on promotion of the tournament,” Serkal said after the ceremony.

The official emblem was painted on to a black canvas, live, by an artist, who latter sprinkled silver powder to reveal the exact emblem. The emblem was inspired from UAE’s heritage and depicts a pearl inside an oyster shell.

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Al Ain’s Omar Abdulrahman in action. — KT file

“The emblem that we have chosen for this international event was inspired from our National heritage, where pearl diving is part of our heritage as is the game of football. And it is natural for the two to come together in a celebration of the sport and such an important international event,” said Serkal.

Prior to the unveiling, young Emiratis performed the UAE’s traditional dance.

Apart from Serkal, Tournament Director Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, Local Organising Committee Member Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa, Head of Marketing for Local Organising Committee Yousef Mohammed Rasool Khoory and David Borja from FIFA Development, were also present.

“It is a great honour for the UAE to have been chosen by FIFA to host this prestigious tournament and today we have unveiled an exciting tournament emblem that will be seen all around the world over the coming months,” said Al Serkal.

The UAE previously hosted two FIFA Club World Cups and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2003.

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The official unveiling of the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Abu Dhabi. — KT photo by Nezar Balout

“This marks a milestone for football in this region. It is the fourth oldest FIFA competition. Since 1985, it has been gathering momentum. We will have 24 teams, 52 games, six cities and for 23 days, these teams and fans will bask in hospitality of Emiratis,” Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa, said.

Twenty-four nations will compete for the prestigious FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy, aiming to emulate Mexico’s history-making Champions of 2011 and be crowned the best teenage team on the planet.

Over the years, the tournament has been the birthplace of some of the biggest stars in the game, with the likes of Ronaldinho (Brazil), Luis Figo (Portugal), Alessandro Del Piero (Italy) and Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentina) all having made their name as youngsters in previous FIFA U-17 World Cup tournaments.

A total of 52 matches will be played over a three-week period in six of the UAE’s top stadiums--Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah Stadium in Fujairah, Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah and Rashid Stadium in Dubai.

The final 24 qualified nations will begin the tournament in six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group automatically qualifying for the Round of 16. The four best third-placed teams from the Group stages will also progress to the knock-out stages.

Joining the UAE in the final line-up of 24 finalists are Iran, Iraq, Japan and Uzbekistan, who all qualified by virtue of having reached the semifinals of the 2012 AFC U-16 Championship last year.

A further 19 nations will continue to battle it out in the Qualifiers, with four places up for grabs in the CAF region, six from UEFA, four from CONCACAF, one from OFC and four from CONMEBOL.

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