Left to right: Ahmad Khoury, Abdul Rahman Mohammad Abdullah, Jim W. Fitzsimon and Badr Hareb. The inaugural Emirates Airlines Dubai Football Sevens will be held at the Sevens from March 11-13. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: Never had the opportunity to see legendary Emirati footballers in action? Here's your chance.

The team, which represented the UAE in its only Fifa World Cup outing, in 1990, is set to take to the field for the inaugural Emirates Airlines Dubai Football Sevens.

The seven-side football tournament will be held at the Sevens from March 11-13 and the UAE's 1990 World Cup heroes will join legends from some of Europe's top clubs, including AC Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Celtic, Rangers and Olympiacos.

The UAE team comprising players like Abdul Rahman Mohammad Abdullah and Adnan Al Talyani will compete against such greats as former Milan captain Paolo Maldini, Liverpool's Ian Rush and Kerry Dixon of Arsenal.

United, Celtic, Milan and Olympiacos have been drawn in the same group, while the Emiratis will be involved in a round robin group stage battle with the Gunners, Liverpool and Rangers.

"The Emirates Airlines Dubai Football 7s is something truly unique and we are really looking forward to playing together as a team again in front of a home crowd," said Abdul Rahman, who captained the team at Italia '90 and is now a football analyst on Orbit Showtime Network.

"As a legends team we have participated in tournaments in Bangkok and the Princess Haya tournament in Jordan so we've sort of kept in touch with each other and football, but we were told to play here only a week back and we'll need to step up our practice sessions to get back to playing as we also have a few new players in the squad."

Al Talyani, who was named the UAE's player of the 20th Century, wasn't present at the announcement, which was made at 7he Sevens.

But in the officially released statement, Al Talyani, who represented the UAE a record 164 times, said: "What makes this even more special is the fact that so many former greats will be involved in a tournament that is also open to children, who dream of one day playing at that level."

Ahmad Khoury, Emirates Airline Senior Vice-President of Commercial Operations GCC, Middle East and Iran, said it was a pleasure to have the UAE legends on board.

"It is wonderful news that the UAE team that made history in qualifying for the 1990 Fifa World Cup will be a part of the first ever Emirates Airline Dubai Football 7s," he said.

"This is going to be a tremendous event, a true festival of football with over 300 teams — including professionals from AC Milan, Arsenal and Olympiacos as well as legends from Liverpool, Celtic and Rangers."

UAE squad

Confirmed players
Abdullah Sultan
Abdul Rahman Mohammad Abdullah
Fahad Khamis
Adnan Al Talyani
Hassan Mohammad
Nasser Khamis
Bakhit Sa'ad Mubarak


Tickets for the event are priced at Dh125 for Friday, Dh150 for Saturday or Dh200 for a season ticket and can be purchased from Go Sport, Virgin, selected Costa, MMI and Choithram outlets, Worldmart, Emirates headquarters, Dnata Travel Centre and 7he Sevens venue itself. Tickets can also be purchased online or by calling Ticketline on 8004669. For more information, log on to www.dubaifootball7s.com. Entry is free on Thursday.