Real-world benefits cited in 'virtual' football



DUBAI // The Middle East's first "virtual" football experience will be a key attraction at the upcoming Mirdif City Centre mall due to open early next year. Aspiring football stars will be able to develop skills, learn new tricks and square off against famous players in computer-generated environments. The concept is the brainchild of the former England forward Kevin Keegan and was first launched in Scotland in 2007. Players, either on their own or in teams of up to four, use real balls in an academy zone, where they learn dribbling, tackling and shooting, before being cheered on to the pitch for a grand finale match in a virtual stadium.

Each participant will have a digital identity, so players can beat their own score or compete against friends. Craig Hart, the vice president of Al Futtaim Leisure, said the soccer circus was designed primarily as a leisure activity, but it would be open to schools and clubs to help develop the next generation of footballing talent. "The facility will provide a unique, interactive experience for people of all ages and skill levels who enjoy football," Mr Hart said.

"Each session will last an hour and include focus on passing, dribbling, kicking and shooting. Players face a number of challenges including hitting moving targets and scoring a goal in a virtual match experience. "There is also a competitive element, as players are issued with a card that saves their scores and enables them to track their progress over time and select who they would like to compete against. Players are taken through each session by a virtual coach who will explain the tasks, provide feedback on how they have performed."

Mr Hart said the facility aimed to overcome the lack of open space for recreational sport in Dubai. tbrooks@thenational.ae

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A homegrown card payment scheme launched by the National Payments Corporation of India and backed by the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank

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Quick facts
  • Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) offers free guided tours of art in the metro and at the stations
  • The tours are free of charge; all you need is a valid SL ticket, for which a single journey (valid for 75 minutes) costs 39 Swedish krone ($3.75)
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  • Avoid rush hour – between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm – to explore the artwork at leisure
World Food Day

Celebrated on October 16, to coincide with the founding date of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Day aims to tackle issues such as hunger, food security, food waste and the environmental impact of food production.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Four scenarios for Ukraine war

1. Protracted but less intense war (60% likelihood)

2. Negotiated end to the conflict (30%)

3. Russia seizes more territory (20%)

4. Ukraine pushes Russia back (10%)

Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3/5

Paris Can Wait
Dir: Eleanor Coppola
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard
Two stars

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

Keane on …

Liverpool’s Uefa Champions League bid: “They’re great. With the attacking force they have, for me, they’re certainly one of the favourites. You look at the teams left in it - they’re capable of scoring against anybody at any given time. Defensively they’ve been good, so I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t go on and win it.”

Mohamed Salah’s debut campaign at Anfield: “Unbelievable. He’s been phenomenal. You can name the front three, but for him on a personal level, he’s been unreal. He’s been great to watch and hopefully he can continue now until the end of the season - which I’m sure he will, because he’s been in fine form. He’s been incredible this season.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s instant impact at former club LA Galaxy: “Brilliant. It’s been a great start for him and for the club. They were crying out for another big name there. They were lacking that, for the prestige of LA Galaxy. And now they have one of the finest stars. I hope they can go win something this year.”

Retail gloom

Online grocer Ocado revealed retail sales fell 5.7 per cen in its first quarter as customers switched back to pre-pandemic shopping patterns.

It was a tough comparison from a year earlier, when the UK was in lockdown, but on a two-year basis its retail division, a joint venture with Marks&Spencer, rose 31.7 per cent over the quarter.

The group added that a 15 per cent drop in customer basket size offset an 11.6. per cent rise in the number of customer transactions.

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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Diipa Khosla started out as a social media manager before branching out to become one of India's biggest fashion influencers, with collaborations including MAC Cosmetics.
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Komal Pandey is a fashion influencer who has partnered with more than 100 brands, including Olay and smartphone brand Vivo India.
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Source: Hireinfluence, various


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