The 6th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament came to a fitting close on Wednesday night with Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) defeating Al Bahri on penalties in a wildly-swinging final of the NAS Futsal Championship.
With His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai International Marine Club, watching from the stands along with more than 5,600 fans who had crammed the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex, EDI and Al Bahri put up a spectacular show for them, with the latter scoring an equaliser in the final second of extra time – the hero being their goalkeeper Mayed Ali Al Maeeni – to force the final into penalties where EDI prevailed 3-2.
Emirates Driving, of course, will consider themselves deserving champions for they were in the driving seat for most of the game. They made a blazing start, taking a 3-0 lead in the first 16 minutes with goals from Williams Oliver Do Nascimento, Sabry Jamil and Abdulkarim Jamil.
Al Bahri, however, fought back to level the scores before the end of the first half, thanks to goals from Essam Alla Shamkh, Hamad Al Shamsi and Helal Al Jaberi.
A stunning goal by Sabry Jamil put EDI back in the lead in the 25th minute, but Mohammed Abdessamad made it 4-4 in the 32nd minute and, despite frantic efforts in the tense closing minutes, there was no addition to the score-line in regulation time.
In extra time, EDI once again took an early lead, through Do Nascimento in the 2nd minute, and looked to be cruising towards victory until Al Maeeni stunned their fans into silence with the equaliser in the final second of 10 minutes of extra time.
Emirates Driving, however, were not be denied in the ensuing penalties and their emotions flowed freely as they received the winner’s trophy from Sheikh Mansoor.
“I think this is the best final we’ve had in the history of the tournament,” said EDI’s Abdulkarim Jamil, who was winning the title for the third time. He had earlier won with Fuhood Zaabeel in 2014 and then with Al Taher last year.
“Credit to Al Bahri for the way they kept fighting back, especially from 0-3 down in the first half. I am really going to cherish this medal and this match for the rest of my life.”
Sheikh Mansoor also presented the individual winners with their trophies. In addition to the gold medal, Do Nascimento also picked up two individual awards – Best Foreign Player and the Golden Boot for his 10 goals in the tournament. Ahmed Abdullah of Al Taher was named the Best Emirati Player of the tournament, while Hassan Ali Al Hantoobi picked up the Best Goalkeeper award.
Sheikh Mansoor was accompanied by His Excellency Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police and chairman of the tournament’s Organising Committee, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Hassan Al Mazrouei, Director of the NAS Sports Tournament.
Organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the 2018 Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament saw more than 5,000 athletes take part across 11 different sports.
This year, the tournament also had an international flavour with a five-a-side futsal competition taking place in the Egyptian capital Cairo and an eight-team volleyball tournament being held in Amman, Jordan.
Major General Al Marri congratulated Sheikh Hamdan for the success of the tournament and said: “This NAS Tournament is not just a sports tournament, but it is a social event that brings together people from different communities. We saw more than 5,000 participants take part this year in 11 different sports, and we had a great number of fans present here at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex every night.
“I congratulate all the winners and thank the fans, and also all the staff and the members of different committees who have worked tirelessly to make this tournament a success.
“The sixth edition of the NAS Sports Tournament has surpassed the past years and become a huge success, not just in terms of the number of participants and fans we attracted here in Dubai, but also because the tournament crossed our borders for the first time and was staged in Egypt and Jordan as well.
“We also launched the Sports Fingerprint Award as one of the initiatives of this tournament. So we are really pleased with what we have achieved this year and we hope to achieve even greater success next year.”
Final: Emirates Driving Institute beat Al Bahri 3-2 on penalties (5-5)
3rd Place: Dubai Police beat Al Taher 5-2
Top Goalscorer: Williams Oliver Do Nascimento (EDI)
Best Foreign Player: Williams Oliver Do Nascimento (EDI)
Best Emirati Player: Ahmed Abdullah (Al Taher)
Best Goalkeeper: Hassan Ali Al Hantoobi (EDI)