Dubai: Bollywood stars treat fans to an exciting game of football

Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Kartik Aaryan were a part of the team that took on the locally-assembled Emirates United

Photos: Shihab/KT
Photos: Shihab/KT

Husain Rizvi

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 12:24 PM

Last updated: Sun 8 May 2022, 3:13 PM

It wasn’t a usual weekend for Dubai fans where they watched their favourite movie stars on the big screens. Instead, they witnessed Bollywood superstars Abhishek Bachchan, Kartik Aaryan, newlywed Ranbir Kapoor, and many others take to the football pitch for a game organised by AG Events for charitable purposes late Saturday evening.

Both football and movie enthusiasts came together to watch a one-of-a-kind star-studded football match that pit two celebrity camps against each other at the Shabab Al Ahli Stadium, Mamzar. Around 18 Bollywood celebrities, as part of the Bunty Walia-owned All Stars Football Club (ASFC), took on a locally assembled Emirates United which included the likes of Nasser Al Neyadi, Bakhit Saad, former UAE footballer Mohammed Qasim, Abdulaziz Binbaz, and famous radio personality Kris Fade.

Members of the Emirates United and All Stars Football Club at the press conference ahead of the match.
Members of the Emirates United and All Stars Football Club at the press conference ahead of the match.

“We are delighted to be hosting the All Stars Football Club in Dubai and most importantly, for a worthy cause,” said Nasser, Emirates United captain. “Football is a sport that brings people together and despite whoever wins at the end, the most important thing is that the right objective is achieved. We promise our fans a thrilling performance and may the best team win.”

Other ASFC stars include Dino Morea, Shoojit Sircar, Shabir Ahluwalia, Vivian Dsena, Leander Paes, Aparshakti Khurana, Harpreet Baweja, Karan Wahi, Armaan Ralhan, Shashank Khaitan, Rohan Shrestha, KVM, Abhimanyu Dasani, and Samir Kochhar.

“I'm very, very proud to lead the squad. I'd like to thank all the authorities that have been instrumental in setting up this match. I think it's wonderful for us to get this opportunity to play for humanity,” ASFC’s non-playing captain Abhishek Bachchan said ahead of the match. “I want to thank all the members of the All Star Football team. It takes a lot for all these actors and directors and people from our film industry to take out time, every Sunday to practice, and to take out time like this to travel to Dubai.“

While Abhishek is a die-hard fan of Chelsea, Ranbir and Kartik support Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively. “The banter is severe,” Abhishek told City Times ahead of the match and the other two joined in laughing. “We take our football very seriously, and we are all very big supporters of our clubs. So, the banter is very severe, but not when we play because when we are playing, we are all representing the All Stars Football Club.”

While the Bollywood stars put on a good show, it was Emirates United that won 3-0. Fadi Al Khatib, Salim, and Abdulaziz Binbaz were the goalscorers. Binbaz also won the Golden Boot award, whereas, the Golden Glove was awarded to goalkeeper Fawaz.

Bollywood star Dino Morea, who is an avid football enthusiast, was all over the pitch. The 46-year-old actor impressed visitors with his energy and stamina and played the entire game. “The future for football in India is bright,” Dino said in a conversation with City Times ahead of the match. “We’ve seen the breakout of Mo Salah from Egypt and now he is playing in the EPL and has become hugely famous. I am sure there is going to be one Indian player who will break out and play for one of these big Indian clubs.”

Dino Morea poses for a photo before the match in Dubai.
Dino Morea poses for a photo before the match in Dubai.

The other notable performers include Leander Paes, a retired Indian tennis professional, and Shabir Ahluwalia, Indian television actor and host. Leander, who started at the back first, moved to the attacking section later in the game. However, all three goals scored by him were ruled out due to the offside rule of the game. The losing side also ended up hitting the woodwork on many occasions.

The match was a thrilling affair, and despite temperatures soaring high, a massive crowd turned up to watch their favourite Bollywood stars play. This reflected the hold Bollywood and its stars have on the people of Dubai, a city considered second home by many from the film industry.

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