Saudi fans promise to provide an imposing atmosphere when the UAE play Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Tuesday in World Cup qualifying. Jordan Pix / Getty Images
Saudi fans promise to provide an imposing atmosphere when the UAE play Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Tuesday in World Cup qualifying. Jordan Pix / Getty Images

Jeddah Diary: UAE exude calm confidence ahead of a Saudi storm



JEDDAH // The King Abdullah Sports City is an intimidating arena, a foreboding amphitheatre that sits alone on the outskirts of Jeddah, away from the din and the dash of Saudi Arabia’s second city.

It is where the hosts resume their hugely one-sided rivalry against the UAE on Tuesday night, for what is deemed a decisive qualifier on the road to the 2018 World Cup, when this cavernous bowl-shaped stadium is expected to come alive to the rumble of more than 60,000 spectators. If the UAE did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the meeting, then they will from the moment they arrive with ambitions of a first competitive victory against the Saudis on their own patch.

More UAE v Saudi Arabia

• John McAuley: Omar Abdulrahman must take charge in Jeddah

• Crunch clash: Scouting report and past five meetings review

• Mahdi Ali: Unconcerned as UAE are 'not afraid' of history with Saudi Arabia

Yet there was a subdued atmosphere at the ground on Monday night, 24 hours out from the main event. Under the lights and in front of the flash bulbs of the gathered media, Mahdi Ali put the UAE through their final training session. The stadium stayed eerily silent, but for those members of his backroom staff calling out instructions, the players sprinting and stretching in the only 15 minutes open to the press. It seemed a world away from the raucous reception the visitors are guaranteed on Tuesday.

The hush should not be confused for any anxiety, though. This was a quiet focus, an obvious determination to go into this pivotal tussle as prepared as possible.

In the press conference that preceded it, Mahdi Ali exuded a calm confidence, most likely eager to transfer his composure to his players. If he be assured of a positive performance at a baying King Abdullah Sports City, then so too should his team.

That was in stark contrast to opposite number Bert van Marwijk, who was abrupt and a little spikey throughout. Contrasting demeanours, yet sights set on a common goal. The stage is ready.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Company Profile

Name: Ovasave
Started: November 2022
Founders: Majd Abu Zant and Torkia Mahloul
Based: Abu Dhabi
Sector: Healthtech
Number of staff: Three employees
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment: $400,000

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

Earth under attack: Cosmic impacts throughout history

4.5 billion years ago: Mars-sized object smashes into the newly-formed Earth, creating debris that coalesces to form the Moon

- 66 million years ago: 10km-wide asteroid crashes into the Gulf of Mexico, wiping out over 70 per cent of living species – including the dinosaurs.

50,000 years ago: 50m-wide iron meteor crashes in Arizona with the violence of 10 megatonne hydrogen bomb, creating the famous 1.2km-wide Barringer Crater

1490: Meteor storm over Shansi Province, north-east China when large stones “fell like rain”, reportedly leading to thousands of deaths.  

1908: 100-metre meteor from the Taurid Complex explodes near the Tunguska river in Siberia with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima-type bombs, devastating 2,000 square kilometres of forest.

1998: Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 breaks apart and crashes into Jupiter in series of impacts that would have annihilated life on Earth.

-2013: 10,000-tonne meteor burns up over the southern Urals region of Russia, releasing a pressure blast and flash that left over 1600 people injured.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

RESULTS

2pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (Dirt) 1,000m
Winner: AF Mozhell, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)

2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Majdi, Szczepan Mazur, Abdallah Al Hammadi.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: AF Athabeh, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: AF Eshaar, Bernardo Pinheiro, Khalifa Al Neyadi

4pm: Gulf Cup presented by Longines Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: Al Roba’a Al Khali, Al Moatasem Al Balushi, Younis Al Kalbani

4.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Apolo Kid, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muahiri

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Key products and UAE prices

iPhone XS
With a 5.8-inch screen, it will be an advance version of the iPhone X. It will be dual sim and comes with better battery life, a faster processor and better camera. A new gold colour will be available.
Price: Dh4,229

iPhone XS Max
It is expected to be a grander version of the iPhone X with a 6.5-inch screen; an inch bigger than the screen of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Price: Dh4,649

iPhone XR
A low-cost version of the iPhone X with a 6.1-inch screen, it is expected to attract mass attention. According to industry experts, it is likely to have aluminium edges instead of stainless steel.
Price: Dh3,179

Apple Watch Series 4
More comprehensive health device with edge-to-edge displays that are more than 30 per cent bigger than displays on current models.

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.
Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Expo details

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia

The world fair will run for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.

It is expected to attract 25 million visits

Some 70 per cent visitors are projected to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 167-year history of World Expos.

More than 30,000 volunteers are required for Expo 2020

The site covers a total of 4.38 sqkm, including a 2 sqkm gated area

It is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

In numbers: China in Dubai

The number of Chinese people living in Dubai: An estimated 200,000

Number of Chinese people in International City: Almost 50,000

Daily visitors to Dragon Mart in 2018/19: 120,000

Daily visitors to Dragon Mart in 2010: 20,000

Percentage increase in visitors in eight years: 500 per cent

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

The drill

Recharge as needed, says Mat Dryden: “We try to make it a rule that every two to three months, even if it’s for four days, we get away, get some time together, recharge, refresh.” The couple take an hour a day to check into their businesses and that’s it.

Stick to the schedule, says Mike Addo: “We have an entire wall known as ‘The Lab,’ covered with colour-coded Post-it notes dedicated to our joint weekly planner, content board, marketing strategy, trends, ideas and upcoming meetings.”

Be a team, suggests Addo: “When training together, you have to trust in each other’s abilities. Otherwise working out together very quickly becomes one person training the other.”

Pull your weight, says Thuymi Do: “To do what we do, there definitely can be no lazy member of the team.” 

COMPANY PROFILE

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


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