Former Real Madrid and Spain defender Michel Salgado hopes to inspire the UAE team he founded to a first victory by cheering from the sidelines this weekend.
Fursan Hispania lost their debut match 1-0 to Liwa in Division Two League last week and face City at The Sevens in Dubai on Saturday with Salgado keen to cast an eye.
“I’ll really excited to be there at the game and I’m going to be really nervous standing on the sidelines,” Salgado said in a media conference held on a virtual platform on Thursday.
The Division Two League was established in 2019 by the Football Association as a third competition in the country for private clubs, universities and amateur teams.
The first edition of the tournament was canceled following the coronavirus pandemic. The new season got underway last week with 15 teams split across two groups.
Fursan Hispania was founded by Salgado with the objective of providing a route for amateur players, both Emirati and expatriates, to catch the eye of professional clubs.
After seven years of successfully developing players at his academy in Dubai, Salgado took on a new project with his new partner Faisal Belhoul by building a football club to take part in official UAE competitions.
“We decided to give our new club an Arabic name as a gesture to our new country, as it is fair to say the UAE made us what we are today,” Salgado, who won four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues as a right-back at Real Madrid, said.
Fursan Hispania translates as ‘Spanish Knights’ and Salgado added: “We think this badge and name represents what we are aspiring to … running long miles and fighting together with our Spanish love and passion for the game as our main weapon.
“We have more than 30 nationalities in our academy and all of them are connected through the same emotional connection to the game.
“The first team is a clear example of this, with players from Lebanon, Morocco, Spain, Sudan, Nigeria, and the UAE … a great group of players that represent a big family of nationalities belonging to the same badge: Fursan Hispania FC.
Work at the club began in August. Salgado explained they faced a number of obstacles in getting off the ground, not least because of the Covid-19 outbreak that ground global sport to a halt.
“Obviously the long-term goal is to see this club grow and have our own stadium,” he said.
“You can’t imagine the amount of work that has been done in the last five months to get the license and so on. It was crazy at that time but it’s so nice to see we are now playing in the Division Two League.”
Belhoul, chairman of Fursan Hispania said their aim was to provide players the opportunity to play professionally but that its philosophy represents more than just a footballing concept.
“Our main goal is to continue developing our players so that they can progress to the first team in the long run,” he added.
“The first team means having the chance to play professional football in the UAE, or be exposed to other leagues that could be attractive to them for their personal football careers.
“This process to achieve the first team will grow them into competitive, educated and balanced people, which is exactly what our life requires today. We develop people first and players second.”