He's UAE football's poster boy therefore it should come as no surprise that Omar Abdulrahman has been appointed as official ambassador for the upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup, being held in the Emirates.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a fine 2013 which began with him being named Player of the Tournament at the Gulf Cup after UAE's historic success and ended with more personal accolades after he helped inspired Al Ain to a second successive Pro League title.
Abdulrahman, named Emirati and Fans' Player of the Year at the recent end of season awards, will now turn his hand to helping organisers promote the youth football extravangza, being held in the UAE from October 17 to November 8.
“It is really exciting to be appointed as the tournament ambassador for the FIFA U-17 World Cup – to be involved in the biggest football event in the history of the UAE is a real privilege," said Abdulrahman.
"I have been lucky enough to play for the UAE since 2008 and have also represented this nation at the London 2012 Olympic Games so I’m very aware of the passion that exists for the game in the Emirates.
"I’m looking forward to meeting plenty of fans and aspiring players over the coming months, and want to transfer my knowledge and passion for the game to the next generation of football stars as much as possible.
"This is not only a tournament for all 24 qualifying teams; it’s the people’s tournament. Everyone from football fans to families is welcome to come down and support their nation. I can’t wait to see fans from all around the world fill up the stadiums of the UAE in October-November.”
Tournament Director HE Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, is equally delighted to welcome Abdulrahman on board.
“The FIFA U-17 World Cup has undoubtedly been the birthplace of many of today’s footballing legends – the likes of Ronaldinho (Brazil), Luis Figo (Portugal), Alessandro Del Piero (Italy) and many more started their careers playing at under 17 level," said Bdou.
"Omar will play a significant role in the legacy of this event which goes far beyond the UAE’s stadiums.”
With less than five months until the largest football event in the history of the UAE, attention turns to tickets for the competition which are expected to go on sale next month.
A total of 52 matches will be played over a three-week period in six of the UAE’s top stadiums--Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah Stadium in Fujairah, Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah and Rashid Stadium in Dubai.
The final 24 qualified nations will begin the tournament in six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group automatically qualifying for the Round of 16.
The four best third-placed teams from the Group stages will also progress to the knock-out stages.
The official draw will take place on August 26, to determine the groups and group stage fixtures. For more information visit www.fifa.com/u17worldcup.
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