Pro League star holds the key for Chile
The UAE team are not taking part in this year's World Cup in South Africa, but the Pro League is being represented by Chilean midfielder Jorge Valdivia. Valdivia, 26, plays his club football with Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club and, at the moment, seems to have the edge on Chilean teammate Matias Fernadnez to be in the starting squad when Chile play Honduras on Wednesday. Chileans living in the UAE say they know what Valdivia is capable of.
"Jorge is a great player," says Ismael Correa, 33 an architect from Santiago who has lived in Abu Dhabi for two years. "I think he will make a big surprise to all of us in the World Cup. "The quality of his passes, the precision ... and he is a very intelligent player," Mr Correa adds. "He takes time to see all around him." "I have been watching the Al Ain games and definitely Valdivia is one of our best players," adds Carlos Salas, 33, the trade commissioner of Chile in Dubai.
"If he is going well, I think our team will be going strong for the first round." Mr Correa and Mr Salas will be among 180 Chileans supporting their nation from the UAE, according to the Chilean embassy in Abu Dhabi. The Chilean and Swiss embassies are organizing an event for expatriates from the two countries to watch the second match of their group together on June 21 at the Emirates Palace hotel and Marco Martinez, a Chilean embassy spokesman, says similar arrangements will be made for the match on June 25 against Spain. The match against Honduras is a bit too soon to organize an event, says Mr Martinez.
Mr Salas expects to watch a successful campaign from his country. "I expect to at least to advance to the second round," he says. "I think after Spain we have a chance to finish second in our group. "Our team have a very strong strategy and a very good coach." Chile are ranked 18th in the world by Fifa and are on a four-match winning streak, and defeated New Zealand 2-0 yesterday in a World Cup warm-up match.
Published: June 11, 2010 04:00 AM