Abu Dhabi: Underscoring the quality of the UAE’s sporting infrastructure and the ideal weather conditions at this time of the year here, two European clubs FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St Petersburg are currently in training in the capital.
Taking advantage of the presence of the two clubs, Matchworld Football SA, in cooperation with its sporting partners RPM (Saudi Arabia) and Sportlive (Russia), is staging the third edition of the Matchworld Cup between January 16 and 19 at the Zayed Sports City stadium.
Joining the Ukrainian and Russian champion clubs will be the giants of Egypt, Zamalek, and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.
Addressing a press conference at the Millennium Hotel, Ahmad Al Mugairen, Chairman of RPM Sports Management, said: “Fans here will get to watch some exciting football as Zamalek have seven national team players, while Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St. Petersburg are preparing for their upcoming European competitions.”
Having eliminated Chelsea FC in the group stage of the Uefa Champions League last month, FC Shakhtar Donetsk will face Borussia Dortmund (Germany) in the last 16 round on February 12 and March 5, while FC Zenit St Petersburg will play Liverpool in the 1/16 round of the Europa League.
Jorvan Vieira, Head Coach of Zamalek Football Club, said: “This is an important tournament for us. The rivals have big names and come with a big reputation.
“For Zamalek it will be a great opportunity to play world-class clubs and we have a huge fan following here. So we hope to play to honour the name of Zamalek and hope to satisfy our fans,” said Vieira, who once coached the Bani Yas club in the emirate.
Marc Biolley, Managing Director of Matchworld Football, said: “We had our earlier two editions in Dubai, with Al Hilal winning in 2011 and FC Zenit St. Petersburg winning last year. We intend to continue this event at this time of the year and hopefully we will stage it in other countries like Saudi Arabia. It will definitely be an annual event.”
The first match will kick-off on Wednesday at 5pm between Zenit St Petersburg and Al Hilal. This will be followed by the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Zamalek encounter at 8pm.
The other two matches will be played on Saturday: Shakhtar Donetsk and Al Hilal (5pm) followed by Zenit St Petersburg against Zamalek at 8pm. The winners will be decided on the points garnered by the teams after the two rounds of football.
Tickets are available online at ticketingco.com and also at Spinneys and Zayed Sports City.