Yousuf Abdulrahman says he remembers nothing of the road accident that almost ended his life.
Yousuf Abdulrahman says he remembers nothing of the road accident that almost ended his life.

Yousuf Abdulrahman determined to return



His last memory is driving past a mosque near Al Dhaid while making the long commute from his parents' home in Kalba to his football club in Al Ain. When he awoke, more than two weeks later, he was surprised to find himself in a hospital bed, and wondered if he would be late for training.

Yousuf Abdulrahman recalled thinking about it a bit more, and when a doctor entered the room he asked: "Was I in an accident?"

The doctor answered: "Yes."

It was only then that Abdulrahman began to become aware of the crash on September 2 that nearly took his life. Teammates, friends and relatives, however, had known about the accident and were filled with foreboding for the 21-year-old first-choice goalkeeper of both Al Ain and the national team.

"My parents told me that everyone who saw me, in the beginning thought, 'That's it, he will die', because my face had a lot of bruises and my body was thin," Abdulrahman said. "Everyone thought: 'That's it, we're going to lose him'."

Majed Alweas, the team manager at Al Ain, was the first club official to see him, and he was filled with dread. "I was afraid," Alweas said. "My family knows about car accidents; I lost my sister in one. And it seemed like the same with Yousuf."

The young goalkeeper was not aware of the steady stream of dignitaries, UAE Football Association executives, Al Ain officials and teammates who visited him in the hospital. Most prayed for him, and many praised him. Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the president of the FA, called him "a national jewel".

Abdulrahman at first was not told of the extent of his injuries. His jaw, left cheekbone and left clavicle were broken. But the most serious injury was a skull fracture, just above the back of his neck, that left his left arm and leg paralysed. At first, heavily medicated, he was not aware of it.

He was told never to get out of bed, even to use the toilet, without help. In his groggy state, he thought the order was silly. One night when his brother, Ibrahim, who stayed by his side throughout the early weeks, was asleep, Abdulrahman decided to take a walk.

"I tried to get up, and found out my left arm and leg didn't work. I fell on my face," he said.

He can laugh about it now, more than four months later.

He has returned to training with Al Ain, but he realises he faces a long recovery. His can use his left arm and leg again, but they remain weak. The vision in his left eye is not quite right. But he seemed confident, during an interview at the club, that he will be back. In six months' time, inshallah.

After spending more than five weeks in hospitals in Al Dhaid and Dubai, he was sent to Germany for the first two months of his convalescence. His relatives began to fill in the gaps in his memory, though some parts of the story will never be known.

No one is quite sure how the accident happened. Some time between 5pm and 6pm, the rented Toyota Corolla he was driving apparently struck a fence dividing the motorway, and the car flipped several times before coming to rest against a wall on the shoulder of the road.

He conceded he "sometimes would speed" and was not wearing a seat belt. The car's driver's side airbag did not come out, he said. As the car careened out of control, his face struck the steering wheel, and then the back of his head slammed into something hard, causing the skull fracture.

"The whole engine came off of the car and was about 50 metres from what was left of the car," he said. "All the glass was broken, and the tyres had exploded. Everyone who saw the car thought that person should be dead."

However, for all the damage to his head, he suffered no injuries below his clavicle.

It took him weeks to realise he could have died. But the most frightening time, he said, was when the paralysis in his arm and leg lingered. "I felt like I might lose a lot of things. I was worried, 'Will I play football?'

"And then I managed to walk, but it wasn't walking normally. I was afraid and I asked the doctor will I be able to walk regularly again? Will I be able to play football again? And he said, 'Yes, you just need time to get some exercise and you will be able to walk properly again.'"

During his two months in Germany, the feeling returned to his left limbs. His broken bones mended and he was able to eat solid food again. He was told the blurred vision in his eye will disappear.

He came back to the UAE on December 22, and his recent return to training was a cause for celebration at the club. He knows every player on the team went to the hospital after he was hurt, and "they were all so happy when he came back", Alweas said.

The Al Ain club know he will not return before the 2011/12 season. "He will fight to get back his place in the team," Alweas said. "We know it will take time."

Asked to assess his state of fitness, compared to where he was on the day of the accident, Abdulrahman put it at "20 per cent".

He regrets the football opportunities he missed while he was hospitalised. The Asian Games. The Asian Cup. "Those are the negatives, the football things," he said. "But on the positive side I found out that many people love me, and I became very close to my family. I spent so much time with my parents because I did not have training or games to keep us apart."

In the past, he typically made the two-hour drive to his parents' home whenever he had a day off. He said he now will return to Kalba only when he has four or five days off, reducing the number of times he is on the road.

He also knows that his days of speeding and not wearing a seat belt "are over".

The German doctors will come to Dubai to check on his progress in six months. They have told him to do only what feels comfortable.

"They said if I feel perfect, then I can play a match. Otherwise, don't."

He expects that day will come. "I really want to play," he said. "I want to play."

The specs: 2018 Audi Q5/SQ5

Price, base: Dh183,900 / Dh249,000
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder /  3.0L, turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic / Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252hp @ 5,000rpm / 354hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 370Nm @ 1,600rpm / 500Nm @ 1,370rpm
Fuel economy: combined 7.2L / 100km / 8.3L / 100km

'Brazen'

Director:+Monika Mitchell

Starring:+Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler

Rating: 3/5

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Recycle Reuse Repurpose

New central waste facility on site at expo Dubai South area to  handle estimated 173 tonne of waste generated daily by millions of visitors

Recyclables such as plastic, paper, glass will be collected from bins on the expo site and taken to the new expo Central Waste Facility on site

Organic waste will be processed at the new onsite Central Waste Facility, treated and converted into compost to be re-used to green the expo area

Of 173 tonnes of waste daily, an estimated 39 per cent will be recyclables, 48 per cent  organic waste  and 13 per cent  general waste.

About 147 tonnes will be recycled and converted to new products at another existing facility in Ras Al Khor

Recycling at Ras Al Khor unit:

Plastic items to be converted to plastic bags and recycled

Paper pulp moulded products such as cup carriers, egg trays, seed pots, and food packaging trays

Glass waste into bowls, lights, candle holders, serving trays and coasters

Aim is for 85 per cent of waste from the site to be diverted from landfill 

ENGLAND TEAM

England (15-1)
George Furbank; Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (capt), Elliot Daly; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Courtney Lawes; Charlie Ewels, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Ollie Devoto, Jonathan Joseph

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League quarter-final, second leg (first-leg score)

Porto (0) v Liverpool (2), Wednesday, 11pm UAE

Match is on BeIN Sports

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

'Manmarziyaan' (Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films)
Director: Anurag Kashyap​​​​​​​
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal​​​​​​​
Rating: 3.5/5

HWJN

Director: Yasir Alyasiri

Starring: Baraa Alem, Nour Alkhadra, Alanoud Saud

Rating: 3/5

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.

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.”

TEST SQUADS

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird.

FA Cup fifth round draw

Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City
Reading/Cardiff City v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Shrewsbury Town/Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United/Oxford United
Leicester City v Coventry City/Birmingham City
Northampton Town/Derby County v Manchester United
Southampton/Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City
Portsmouth v Arsenal 


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