Arabian Gulf Cup semi-finals honour UAE's Mars mission

Hope Probe effects displayed on giants screens at Al Maktoum and Zabeel stadiums

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 07: General view of the stadium during the AFC Asian Cup Group C match between South Korea and Philippines at Al Maktoum Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Allsport Co./Getty Images)
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The first leg of the Arabian Gulf Cup semi-finals will be played on Tuesday under the slogan “Hope Probe”, to mark the arrival of the UAE’s Hope probe into Mars’ orbit.

The UAE Pro League announced late on Sunday that the “Hope Probe” tag line and visual effects will be displayed on giant screens and electronic screening at Al Maktoum Stadium and Zabeel Stadium, where Al Nasr take on Ittihad Kalba and Al Wasl host Shabab Al Ahli, respectively.

Speaking about the initiative, UAE Pro League chairman Abdulla Naser Al Junaibi expressed his “profound appreciation and gratitude to the wise leadership on this occasion, which represents a source of pride, inspiration and belonging to the UAE, which has become the first Arab and Islamic country and one of only nine countries in the world to send a probe to Mars... in a step that confirms the leadership's support for science, development and future planning with ambition and determination”.

Al Junaibi added: “The national cadres who supervised and executed the Hope probe makes us even more proud. They were supported by the rational and visionary leadership, who provides the UAE citizens with unlimited support in order to develop knowledge, scientific research and space applications that benefit mankind and establish a sustainable knowledge-based economy that promotes diversification and encourages innovation.”

Al Junaibi said holding the matches under the slogan sends a message to younger generations that they are “capable of building the future and achieving big dreams in an ambitious country where nothing is impossible”.

The league’s social media accounts have changed their profile pictures to celebrate the Mars mission, as has the Football Association. The semi-final second legs are scheduled to be played on March 2.