Michel Salgado (left) and his partner Faisal Belhoul at the launch of Fursan Hispania FC. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: The UAE’s national and expatriate budding amateur footballers will now have an exciting route to a professional career after the formation of a new football club in the country.

Known as Fursan Hispania FC - a new entrant to the UAE’s Second Division League – the grassroots club is aimed at helping dedicated amateurs achieve their dreams of playing at an official level.

Created and led by Spanish football legend Michel Salgado, who spent over a decade with Real Madrid and the past seven years as director of his Dubai Sports City-based Spanish Soccer Schools, the Fursan Hispania FC has been formed with the objective of providing a route for amateur players in an established UAE Football Association (UAE FA) team.

After seven years of successfully developing the academy, Salgado decided to take on a new project with his new partner Faisal Belhoul by building a real football club to take part in official UAE competitions.

“We decided to give our new club an Arabic name as a gesture to our new country, as it is fair to say the UAE made us what we are today. ‘Fursan Hispania’ translates as ‘Spanish Knights’ - we think this badge and name represents what we are aspiring to… running long miles and fighting together with our Spanish love and passion for the game as our main weapon,” Salgado observed.

“Dubai means diversity and since we landed seven years ago from Spain, we realised that this was a special place. We have more than 30 nationalities in our academy and all of them are connected through the same emotional connection to the game. Our team is a clear example of a great group of players that represent a big family of nationalities belonging to the same badge - Fursan Hispania FC,” he added.

Belhoul, Chairman of Fursan Hispania FC, explained that Fursan Hispania FC aims to give its players the chance to play professionally but that its philosophy represents more than just a footballing concept. He said that the focus of both the team and the academy extends beyond developing ball skills and promoting fitness, and that it has the potential to create future leaders through its focus on teamwork and encouraging a culture of effort, resilience and hard work.

“Our main goal is to continue developing our players so that they can progress to the first team in the long run. The first team means having the chance to play professional football in the UAE, or be exposed to other leagues that could be attractive to them for their personal football careers. This process to achieve the first team will grow them into competitive, educated and balanced people, which is exactly what our life requires today. We develop people first and players second,” he noted.

“Football is a huge passion for expatsin the UAE as well as for young Emiratis. With a third of the country’s population aged under 25 years, there is a fantastic opportunity to use football training to teach the soft skills needed to help create the leaders of the future. Not only does football training and competitive playing develop fitness and ball skills, it teaches the importance of fair play, sacrifice and rising to meet every challenge. What is learned on the pitch can be transferred to the real world, so it is no exaggeration to say that football has the power to develop the nation,” he added.

Fursan Hispania FC lost its opening match by a solitary goal to Liwa in the first week of last month. Their second game against City FC has been scheduled for a 7.30 pm kick-off at The Sevens Stadium, on January 9.