UAE 1990 World Cup team members Ali Thani, second right, and Abdulrahman Al Haddad, far left, meet Alberto Parreira, second left, and members of the Brazil national team David Luiz, centre, and Marcelo, right. Parreira coached the UAE side the only time they made the World Cup in 1990. Courtesy: Seven Media
UAE 1990 World Cup team members Ali Thani, second right, and Abdulrahman Al Haddad, far left, meet Alberto Parreira, second left, and members of the Brazil national team David Luiz, centre, and MarcelShow more

Ali Thani waited 24 years to get autograph of his 1990 World Cup coach on UAE shirt

Ali Thani waited 24 years to get the autograph of his 1990 World Cup coach on a red-and-white UAE shirt.

Finally, at age 45, the former Sharjah midfielder got the signature of Carlos Alberto Parreira on his No 3 strip.

Thani and his 1990 teammate Abdulrahman Al Haddad were reunited with Parreira at the Brazil team training camp during the recent 2014 World Cup.

“The reunion with Parreira was very emotional,” Thani said. “It was like a father-and-child reunion.

“When he saw us for the first time it was during a news conference for the Brazil team. He paused the news conference to welcome and introduce us.”

Thani and Al Haddad travelled to Brazil as part of a documentary that is being filmed to chronicle the history of the 1990 UAE team, the country's first and still the only to qualify to play in the world's most popular sports event.

Image Nation, producers of the documentary, flew the two former players to Brazil to meet up with Parreira, as well as tour the Brazil camp, watch the host side during training and watch a match at the Estadio Maracana.

“The trip to Brazil was beyond imagination. I cannot describe the feelings I had,” Thani said.

Parreira, who as technical director worked with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, introduced the Emiratis to many of Brazil’s players.

“Twenty-four years ago I was coached by the same manager who looks after these players,” Thani said. “Many of them were not born at that time.

“They did not believe I still have the shirt I used to wear during Italia ’90 until I showed it to them and asked Parreira to sign it.”

Parreira coached the UAE national team from 1984 to 1988, before moving to Saudi Arabia. His compatriot, Mario Zagallo, took over the UAE team and successfully led them through Asian Football Confederation qualifying for the World Cup in Italy, clinching a place in the finals with a 1-1 draw with South Korea in Malaysia.

The UAE Football Association recalled Parreira to coach the side in the World Cup.

The Emiratis lost 2-0 to Colombia, 5-1 to Germany and 4-1 to Yugoslavia. In that latter game, it was Thani who scored the UAE goal with a header in the 22nd minute.

The journey to Brazil by Thani and Al Haddad will form part of the Image Nation film, led by creative producer Stevan Riley, that will combine archive footage, interviews and new on-location shots.

Describing his reunion with Parreira as “wonderful”, Al Haddad said: “I considered making a similar trip a long time ago, but circumstances did not allow me, at the time.

“One day I received a call from Image Nation, and they told me about the brilliant documentary and surprised me with this trip to Brazil to reunite with Parreira.”

The UAE has not returned to the World Cup finals since the 1990 pioneers won a place.

“At the time, we were a group of amateur players, many making sacrifices to play and represent our country,” Thani said. “Many had left their families, others left their jobs, just to be able to play in the World Cup qualifications. Nobody expected us to beat all the odds and qualify.

“I still remember the match we played in the qualifications phase against China,” a 2-1 victory that proved pivotal to qualifying. “Everybody was excited, determined to prove ourselves fit to play at the World Cup.”

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

UFC Fight Night 2

1am – Early prelims

2am – Prelims

4am-7am – Main card

7:30am-9am – press cons


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Stormy seas

Weather warnings show that Storm Eunice is soon to make landfall. The videographer and I are scrambling to return to the other side of the Channel before it does. As we race to the port of Calais, I see miles of wire fencing topped with barbed wire all around it, a silent ‘Keep Out’ sign for those who, unlike us, aren’t lucky enough to have the right to move freely and safely across borders.

We set sail on a giant ferry whose length dwarfs the dinghies migrants use by nearly a 100 times. Despite the windy rain lashing at the portholes, we arrive safely in Dover; grateful but acutely aware of the miserable conditions the people we’ve left behind are in and of the privilege of choice. 


1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Anthony Joshua v Otto Wallin, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Deontay Wilder v Joseph Parker, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Dmitry Bivol v Lyndon Arthur, 12 rounds, light heavyweight

Daniel Dubois v Jarrell Miller, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Filip Hrgovic v Mark de Mori, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Arslanbek Makhmudov v Agit Kabayel, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Frank Sanchez v Junior Fa, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Jai Opetaia v Ellis Zorro, 12 rounds, cruiserweight


Engine: Four-cylinder 2.5-litre

Transmission: Seven-speed auto

Power: 165hp

Torque: 241Nm

Price: Dh99,900 to Dh134,000

On sale: now

The specs: 2019 Audi A8

Price From Dh390,000

Engine 3.0L V6 turbo

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 345hp @ 5,000rpm

Torque 500Nm @ 1,370rpm

Fuel economy, combined 7.5L / 100km

Most Read
Top Videos