Dietmar Beiersdorf (left), Director of Sports, Hamburg SV, speaks at the
Press conference with their Argentine star Juan Pablo Sorin at the launch of
the Dubai Football Challenge at Murooj Rotana Hotel yesterday
Gulfnews - Dubai looks set to fall under football's spell when some of
Europe's biggest football clubs battle it out in two tournaments being
Top German clubs Hamburg and Vfb Stuttgart clash with Iran and the UAE
national teams for the Dubai Challenge Cup 2007 at the Al Nasr Club's
Maktoum Stadium while eight-time French champions Marseille take on Italy's
Lazio, Portugal's Benfica and German giants Bayern Munich in the Shaikh
Mohammad Bin Rashid International Football Challenge at the Al Ahli Club's
The Dubai Football Challenge 2007 kicks-off today with Iran playing Hamburg
at 5 pm and the UAE taking on Stuttgart at 7.30pm.
All four teams are well prepared for the tournament. The UAE are using it to
brush up their skills ahead of the prestigious Gulf Cup, which starts on
One of the many stars on view at the Al Nasr Stadium will be Hamburg's
Argentinian import Juan Pablo Sorin.
"We are pleased to be in Dubai and play in the Challenge Cup 2007," said
Sorin at a press conference yesterday. "We hope it will be a good
preparation for us to improve our position in the Bundesliga before it
resumes in the third week of January."
Hamburg have had a disappointing season so far and are just one place from
the bottom of the 18-team table in the Bundesliga. They have won only once
in 17 matches.
The Dubai Challenge Cup 2007 is being held under the patronage of Shaikh
Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Executive
Council and President of the Dubai Sports Council.
Hamad Mohammad Bin Mejrin, manager inward missions, Department of Tourism
and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) predicted a bright future for the tournament.
"The DTCM undertakes international promotional and marketing campaigns to
highlight Dubai's strengths and opportunities," he said.
Horst Heldt, sporting director Vfb Stuttgart, hoped that the Challenge Cup
will get bigger and more important in the future. He said it was an honour
for his club to take part in the tournament.
"To get such high class teams for the first tournament is a testament to its
global appeal," Heldt said.
Iranian skipper Ali Reza Nickbakht Vahedi said that the tournament is a good
preparation for the Asian Cup finals.
However, his coach Amir Ghalenoi said: "The main objectives of this
tournament is not to win or lose, but to strengthen ties between our
countries and participants."
UAE national team skipper Mohammad Omar said that the tournament will
sharpen the team before the Gulf Cup.
Today: 5pm: Hamburg SV v Iran.
7.30 pm: UAE v VfB Stuttgart.
5 pm: Iran v VfB Stuttgart 7.30 pm: UAE v Hamburg SV.
All matches at Al Nasr Stadium.