Dubai: Al Ahli proved to be the best team with a record third crown in as many years of the UAE Beach Soccer League that concluded here on Saturday.
Held at the Al Mamzar Beach Park, Al Ahli ended the six-team standings with 14 points leaving Al Nasr for the runner-up spot for a second year running, while Al Hamriya finished in third place.
The final match of the league was played between Al Nasr and Al Wasl on Saturday and it was Al Nasr riding on Ali Karim’s hat-trick for a close 5-4 win over their neighbours. After starting off with six teams, the league ended with just four following the withdrawal of Al Shabab and Fujairah Club midway through the eight-week competition.
Al Ahli, meanwhile, had sealed the top spot last week itself following a win over challengers Al Nasr to confirm their third straight crown in the three years of professional beach soccer era in the UAE. The only blip for the champions was a 2-3 loss to Al Wasl in their third round.
“That loss was a wake-up call for the players,” admitted Al Ahli coach-cum-captain Qambhar Mohammad.
“We did not leave anything for chance after that loss. The players were focused and finally we are here with a record third title,” he added.
In the three years of professional beach soccer Al Ahli has been the most dominant club with all titles except the President’s Cup in its inaugural year.
Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC), was joined by Ali Omar and Mohammad Al Kous both from the DSC at the prize presentation after the final round.
“This has been a tremendous team effort from everyone concerned. Our Chairman [Abdullah Saeed Naboodah] has backed us all the way and we are in a much better position than when we started,” Qambhar Mohammad said.
The domestic beach soccer season will now take a break to allow the national team start preparing for a busy schedule starting with the Second Asian Cup in China later this summer.
Standings: 1. Al Ahli (14pts); 2. Al Nasr (12); 3. Al Hamriya (6); 4. Al Wasl (3).
Fairplay award: Al Hamriya
Best Player: Madjer (Al Ahli) – 14 goals
Top Scorer: Saeed Salah Naji (Al Hamriya) – 15 goals
Best Goalkeeper: Humaid Jamal (Al Nasr)