Manchester City to host training session for fans in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI // The newly crowned Premier League champions, Manchester City, will host an open training session for fans in the capital on Wednesday – a day before they play Al Ain at the new Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
The champions will train at Al Jazira’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday led by manager Manuel Pellegrini and the rest of the coaching staff.
Manchester City, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, beat West Ham 2-0 on Sunday to clinch their second league title in three years.
Star players, including captain Vincent Kompany, midfielder Yaya Toure and striker Sergio Aguero will be at the training session, which will be open to the public.
“To have the Premier League champions coming to Abu Dhabi just days after winning the title is just fantastic,” said Manchester City fan Jamal Saleh, from Abu Dhabi.
“There are more and more City fans in the UAE and it will be a big thing for us all to see the players train in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s a brilliant way to thank them for winning the title again and hopefully there will be many more to come in future years.”
The open training session begins at 6.30pm and entry will be free.
City will also parade their trophy around the country before playing Al Ain in a friendly at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday.
The Al Ain side will include 22-year-old midfielder Omar Abdulrahman, and some of the Arabian Gulf’s top players.
City were due to travel to the UAE in January to take on the 2012-13 Arabian Gulf League champions in a friendly to mark the opening of the 25,000-seat Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
But they had to cancel after their third-round FA Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers led to a replay.
Among the headline acts on Thursday will be the Emirati singer, Eidha Al Manhali, footballing world record holders, carnival acts, dancers and drummers as part of festivities outside the stadium.
“This is a great treat for the fans,” said Mohammed Obaid Hamad, the Al Ain manager. “To have two such wonderful teams at the stadium is an occasion which will go down in our history as one of the club’s true milestones.”
Fans have begun making plans to be in Abu Dhabi for the training session and for the friendly game against Al Ain.
“This is my team so it’s a big thing for me. It’s like seeing your favourite artist’s show or seeing your favourite singer perform,” said Tarek Samir, a personal trainer who has lived in Manchester.
“I’ve been a fan for a long time so I will see them play. They are a very good team and have proved themselves, plus they have got some of the best players now.”
Fans, even those who were not Manchester City supporters, said it would be a great opportunity for all football supporters.
“It would be amazing to play with your idols and it would be exciting if you could pick up a few things and maybe get to ask them what it is like to be in a crucial game,” said Ilhaam Khalid, the manager of Insportz, a sports club.
“Al Ain are a strong team and it will be great exposure for them to get that kind of experience to play Man City. I’ve been a diehard Manchester United fan since I was a kid but Man City are a good team. The way they managed their team and won their second title gives you a good look at how it can be done.”
Published: May 12, 2014 04:00 AM