The countdown to the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 is now well under way. The official Draw has been made and we’re less than 100 days away from seeing the best club teams in world football take the field in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi from December 12-22 for the battle to be crowned the best club side in the world.
Al Ain will kick off the tournament with a match against OFC Champions League holders Team Wellington FC, from New Zealand, at their Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium home on December 12. Following the Official Draw in Zurich, the UAE host team now know what lies ahead if they get past Wellington.
The winners of that match will play the winners of the (CAF) African Champions League. Victory in that match would set up a huge date for Al Ain – a semi-final clash against the champions from the Copa Libertadores, the flagship tournament of South America’s CONMEBOL confederation.
During a special event at Al Ain’s Bawadi Mall to mark the Official Draw, Al Ain FC coach Zoran Mamic and two of his players, Brazilian midfielder Lucas Caio and UAE defender Mohammed Fayyez, showed the team is ready for the challenge by taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 Ultimate Hero Challenge, which tasks participants with showcasing their skills in five zones: Striker Zone – Power Hero; Midfielder Zone – Touch Hero; Midfielder Zone – Passing Hero; Defender Zone – Heading Hero and Goalkeeper Zone – Save Hero.
“It was fun to try the challenge. I love training so it’s always good to test your skills,” said midfielder Caio. “I’m really looking forward to playing in the FIFA Club World Cup in front of our own fans. We are ready to do them proud and would like to invite everyone to get their tickets and come to see us play.”
Commenting on the draw and the task ahead, Al Ain chairman Ghanem Mubarak Al Hejari expressed his pride at being part of the tournament.
“Any team that has qualified will be looking to do well, but we want to show just how determined and how strong we are,” he said. We want to progress past at least the first round and show the quality and level of football in this part of the world” and show why Al Ain is the best representative for this tournament.”
Meanwhile, Mamic said his players are ready for the challenges ahead.
“There will be a lot of expectation on us as the host team, but we have a lot of quality and the draw has shown us what we need to do,” he said. “We may have avoided a potential semi-final match against Real Madrid, but we have to get to the semi-final first. We have two games to play to get there so we will take it game by game.”
Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Marketing and Communications Director, Local Organising Committee, said he was looking forward to a tournament that brings the best club sides in the world to Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.
Fans will soon get the chance to see their favourite superstars and we welcome everyone to come for an exciting tournament and experience warm, traditional UAE hospitality,” he said.
Tickets are now available online via www.fifacwc.ae