UAE team get hero’s welcome

The picturesque Corinche was all quiet as usual with the regulars going for their routine jogs, cycling, while some were just sitting around and enjoying the winter breeze on Saturday evening.

By James Jose

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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2010, 12:26 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:05 AM

The traffic flow was usual until 5.39 p.m when police cars, flashing their lights, quickly swooped down on one side of the Corniche Road.

It all went quiet for a minute or so and then at 5.41 p.m, police escorts screamed through followed by the open-top bus, which was carrying the UAE Olympic football team. The team touched down at the Emiri Airport in a special flight from Guangzhou, China, around 4 p.m and were they were given a heroes’ welcome by football-crazy fans.

The team won an historic silver medal in the football event at the Asian Games in China. UAE went down to Japan 0-1 in an heartbreaking final. But it was a superb showing by the lads considering the fact that UAE had never gone beyond the group stage in five appearances at the Asian Games.

After this display by the country’s young and finest Emirati footballers, hopes are high for the London Olympics next year and the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup. This team has won the Under-16 Gulf Cup in 2006, the Under-19 Asian Cup in 2008 and Under-23 Gulf Cup in August this year.

The team stunned heavyweights North Korea and South Korea though to the final at the Asian Games.

The team did a victory parade around Abu Dhabi city and a sea of fans, in their cars, celebrated by waving the UAE National flag, honking and cheering the heroes. Some cars were decked in the UAE colours. They followed the bus as it did a victory lap around the city. Bystanders took photographs of the team.

The players thanked the Arab and Chinese fans who cheered them during the competition and the final game against Japan.


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