All of us involved actively in the game had come across a weekend or a one-day tournament, at some point in our lives. Especially, here in the Dubai, UAE, my mates and me had the chance to partake in various Adidas sponsored events back in the younger day, which proved to be quite memorable. Not only did it give us the opportunity to show what we as kids had, but on that pitch, everyone was equal. The pride within would grow as we qualified to the KO stages.
As far as I can remember, that was it. Not a lot has happened since then apart from your usual hosted expensive tournaments across the UAE. Nothing like those Adidas tournaments catered to the adults.
That is until Michel Salgado came into town. He had been busy since his arrival, under the patronage of the Dubai Sports Council, figuring out ways to bring back the game in its purest form. His focus on promoting the 7v7 side of the game in the country has to be appreciated.
With that in mind, the Dubai Sport City Indoor Dome, last weekend hosted Michel Salgado’s 24-hour (MS24H) Tournament, the first 7v7 tournament of its kind in the Middle East under the sponsorship of Chevrolet Arabia, specifically for adults.
It was entertaining to watch the 24 teams battle it out along the lines of the contest’s official slogan ‘Win or Die’ for 20 minutes per game. Be it the passion of the game, or the monetary incentive (where winner rakes in Dhs 20,000), these players were out there from 8pm Thursday to 8pm Friday giving it their all to the demanding nature of the game. And interestingly, Salgado was also present for the most of it.
He was certainly pleased with the response for the inaugural tournament.
“We are delighted with the outcome of this 24-hour tournament as it truly demonstrated the UAE’s football prowess. The players’ passion for the sport was absolutely palpable on the field,” noted coach Michel Salgado.
Hopefully, we get to see this sort of tournament branch out into different cities in the country or even may be regionally, in the near future.