My UAE: Kicking forward with the football fanatic Omar Al Dhiyebi

A profile of the Emirati football entrepreneur Omar Al Dhiyebi.

Omar Al Dhiyebi has used his football passion in sport-related ventures. Delores Johnson / The National
Powered by automated translation

Omar Al Dhiyebi has been a football fanatic since he was a toddler kicking about with his four brothers at home.

The 26-year-old’s father has supported Manchester United for more than 40 years. As a result Al Dhiyebi’s passion for the game evolved and became his way of showing his personality.

“I’m a quiet, reserved person, and football gives me the freedom to express myself in my own way, whether it’s on the pitch or watching Manchester United play on television,” he says.

Despite having graduated with a degree in real estate and urban planning from Reading University in England and now working full-time as the tenant relations manager for Yas Mall, football has defined Al Dhiyebi, who is also a Level 2 coach certified by the English Football Association.

“When people think of Omar, football is the first thing that comes to mind,” he says. “After graduating and returning to the UAE, I started to pay great attention to the services provided here. I wasn’t happy with the standard of football and decided I needed to do something to change that for the sport that I love.”

He started Regional Sports, a sports-­development company that focuses on promoting and developing grass-roots football in the UAE, and specialises in football-­pitch bookings, leagues and tournaments and a Little Leagues football academy.

“I enjoy developing young footballers – being a qualified coach allows me to influence positive change,” Al Dhiyebi says.

And that he continues to do – during Ramadan he launched a campaign to donate old sports kits to children in need.

“We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to play and express themselves – small donations can help so many people,” he adds.

Al Dhiyebi's next goal is to develop The Football Community (, an online platform for football coaches, players, investors, sponsors and fans to share ideas on how to promote and develop the sport in the UAE.

What music are you currently playing in your car?

[The Dutch remix artist] Sam Feldt’s Kriebels mixtape because his music starts off with positivity and inspiration and then becomes very chilled-out, which I like.

Describe yourself in a sentence.

A young and ambitious advocate of positive change.

Where do you go to relax?

The beach. It’s where I get to reflect on the past couple of days and think about my next step.

What football team do you support?

Manchester United, all the way.

Who's your favourite sportsperson?

Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United player, now assistant manager. He is a person I admire and look up to. He shares a lot of the core [sporting] values I do – ambition, loyalty, passion and great sportsmanship.

What's your advice to young Emiratis?

Have big ambitions, do what you love, be innovative and learn from those around you. The UAE provides us with many opportunities to flourish in different industries. All it requires is the will, thorough due diligence, hard work and dedication.

Who inspires you and why?

My father and elder brothers, who are working hard for the right reasons – to learn, develop, grow and give back to the UAE.

What is your favourite quote?

It’s actually an Arabic saying: “He who has the right intentions will have a beautiful life.”

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

To stop time. I have so many things I would love to do and so much to give.