Indeed, another season has gone by, another reflection has come through. In all of my years of following the UAE Pro League (soon to be the Arabian Gulf League), I had never seen a list that is as astounding as the one that shows the top scorers of the season.

2012-2013 - Top Scorer
2012-2013 – Top Scorer

This season saw a record breaking effort from Ghanian Asamoah Gyan for Al Ain with the highest number of goals in a single season (31). However, in that list of talented footballers, not even a single Emirati features. Ali Ahmed Mabkhout of Al Jazira came in at 14th position with 11 and Nawaf Mubarak Musabh of Baniyas with 10 goals in 18th position, are the only two Emirati’s in the top twenty.

2011-2012 - Top Scorer
2011-2012 – Top Scorers
2010-2011 - Top Scorers
2010-2011 – Top Scorers

The view that the existence of high to mid-profile foreigners in the league educates and develops local talent is prevalent, and yet again has gone unproven.

You could argue against, on the context that the recent performances of the UAE National Team with the likes of the talented and young Abdul Rahman’s and how the league has nurtured them along with the help of their expensive imports. But, it seems like there are just a hand few that had benefited from the presence of these super stars.

Given all this, one has to ask: Are foreigners really helping the local talent? Again, the justification is probably more financially orientated than reasonable. It does not mean that we have to get rid of them or promote them. Certainly, it will be useful to benefit a little from the knowledge of these foreign professionals. It is just that the time has come for the authorities to take a step back and look at the policies involved and do an overall cost and opportunity analysis for the benefit of the local talent and eventually; UAE Football.

And I for one would be more than happy to share some of the thoughts to achieve this distant goal.


  1. Jasim Juma'a Reply

    It depends on how much they get paid. I am pretty sure it wont be anything less than massive…..:)

    • They are getting paid ridiculous amounts. Don’t see why they would be here otherwise.

  2. Most of the players that are coming in are in their prime. As mentioned, I think its purely financial for the clubs to make some money out of the names rather than help in developing local talent.

    • Well, as of recent some young players are coming in, young as in between 27 – 30.

  3. This can be a feature seen in many leagues to be honest. Leagues have to balance competitiveness, quality and development of local players. Only 4 in the top 12 scorers in spain are spanish (and that is a football-wise developed country). 2 in the top ten in the EPL. Only I think Germany (the best national youth development set up now?) can boast of local forwards doing pretty well. I think in the end it comes to the different tradeoffs that will need to come around.

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