Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, has hailed the UAE cricket team’s successes in recent times and appreciated the tremendous growth achieved by the sport in the country over the years.
“Cricket has gained popularity in the UAE. We have great international stadiums here, lots of cricket activity takes place here during the year and that is a testament to the popularity of the sport,” Shaikh Nahyan said at a felicitation function for the UAE team at Al Bateen Palace on Tuesday.
“We have qualified for the second time now for the World Cup and it wasn’t easy; it doesn’t come out of nothing. It needs dedication, commitment and support from everyone and this is the result of that. Qualifying for the World Cups is a great achievement by itself and I am sure they will do well at the World Cup as well,” added Shaikh Nahyan, who is also the chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board.
Shaikh Nahyan said the UAE cricket team can expect full support as they aim higher. “Definitely, you can expect our continued support for them. We will stand by them and support them because they represent the UAE. We want them to do the best.”
Shaikh Nahyan was also hopeful of seeing an Emirati cricketer making the grade soon. “Definitely, we would like to see one. There are a few of them. Since the UAE is close to where cricket is mostly popular, we are interested in promoting this game and encouraging our youth to participate in the game, to take it up and we expect we would be able to form our national team soon.”
Shaikh Nahyan observed that cricket has been already introduced in many schools and said the move would definitely pay rich dividends in the years to come. “Cricket does take place in schools and we have many cricket games during the year; international fixtures and international teams play here. We have first-class facilities for cricket and it is gaining popularity even among the locals. We are keen to maintain our support for the game which is widely viewed across the world.”
Shaikh Nahyan was all praise for UAE coach Aaqib Javed for his contribution in boosting the team’s fortunes in a span of just two years.
“He has been very professional, committed, dedicated, and has gained the respect of the players and the administrators. We back him and support him and he is doing a good job. We thank him for that and appreciate his hard work.”