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Players of Zamalek celebrate after scoring a goal during Egyptian Premier League match ealier this year. The Egyptian giants will be taking part in the Dubai Challenge Cup in January. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Fourteen-time Egyptian champions Zamalek among the four international to compete in the inaugural Dubai Challenge Cup 2024, to be held at Al Maktoum Stadium at Al Nasr Club from Jan. 26-28.

Dubai Challenge Cup, held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), will feature some of the top teams from Asia and Africa to further strengthens Dubai’s position as a leading destination for hosting international sporting events.

Other contenders

Joining the Egyptian giants are three-time CAF Champions League winners and eight-time Moroccan Cup winners Raja Club Athletic, Wuhan Three Towns from China and Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli.

Zamalek SC, led by Ahmed Abou El Fotouhm Shikabala, known as Shikabala, will play Raja Club Athletic in the tournament opener on January 26.

The Wuhan Three Towns, led by Brazilian Davidson da Luz Pereira, will face Al Ahli Saudi a day later. Among the notable stars in the Saudi team is former Liverpool player Roberto Firmino. Additionally, Al Ahli’s roster boasts French forward Allan Saint-Maximin, who made a move from Newcastle United to the Middle East club in a deal valued at around £25 million in July.

Key highlight of 2024 calendar

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “The inaugural Dubai Challenge Cup is a major addition to our year-round calendar of world-class sporting events, aligning with the vision of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33 to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.”

Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, said: “Hosting the inaugural Dubai Challenge Cup 2024 stands as a key highlight in the city’s 2024 sports calendar. We eagerly anticipate the event kick-starting a series of outstanding sporting events throughout the year. The Dubai Challenge Cup 2024 is poised to play a crucial role in enhancing Dubai’s status as a premier global destination for major teams, providing unparalleled opportunities for training, competitive matches and season preparations.”

Starting at the semi-final stage, the Dubai Challenge Cup 2024 will see each side play two matches, with either the final or a third and fourth place playoff awaiting the competing sides after the opening games.