Dubai 2021 look to retain NAS volleyball title - GulfToday

Dubai 2021 look to retain NAS volleyball title

Volleyball Dubai

Teams participating in the volleyball event have roped in a number of overseas players from Serbia, Brazil, Pakistan and India.

Rebranding themselves as Dubai 2020 and Dubai 2021 for the seventh edition of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, the two finalists from last year’s NAS Volleyball championship are confident of going all the way once again this year.

Dubai 2020 and Dubai 2021 took part as F3 and F3 ‘A’ in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament last year, and both teams topped their respective group with F3 meeting 2017 champions Surprise in their semi-finals and F3 ‘A’ taking on Spinneys in the other. The two F3 teams, then, cruised through the semis and, facing-off for the title, they put a thrilling fight before F3 edged it 3-2.

“We were really pleased with how both teams performed last year,” said Jasem Mohammed Jaber, manager of Dubai 2020 and Dubai 2021 teams.

“We would love to put up a similar show this year with both teams reaching the final. But we are not thinking that far ahead. Our first target is to qualify for the knockout stages and then take it from there. It’s one match at a time for us.

“We have attracted some of the best local players and we have also signed some excellent players from overseas. The players are working hard as they prepare for the start of the tournament. So, lots of reasons for us to be optimistic.”

Dubai 2020’s overseas contingent includes the Serbian duo of Vojislav Skoric and Predrag Petkovic, and Brazil’s Nunes Silva. Dubai 2021 also have a Serbian on their roster, Nemanja Vidic, alongside Wael Chamakhi of Tunisia and Jamal Mohammed of Pakistan.

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The NAS Schedule.

Dubai 2020 have been drawn in Group A alongside Fohood Zabeel and Surprise, while Dubai 2021 will be competing against Al Burkan and Bin Thani for the two semi-final spot from Group B.

“We have teams participating in both the Volleyball and Futsal championships,” said Saif Al Jabri, the manager of Fohood Zabeel, who have a number of Indians like Mohammed Sagheer, Azeez Thyambaath and Mohammed Hydros in their ranks.

“Having two teams means double the effort for us on the administrative side. But we have got a good bunch of players and they are hungry for success in both NAS Volleyball and NAS Futsal.”

Surprise, meanwhile, have picked Serbia’s Uros La Lic and Saleh Fathy Mohammed of Egypt as their foreign duo, while Al Burkan have brought in Oman’s Mohammed Salem Al Jabri and Chukwuma David Okeke of Nigeria alongside India’s Sajan Alva. Bin Thani have picked two Indians – Thassim Thaha Mohammed and Asham Aliyarukunju Mohammed – and Mohcine Hmaich of Morocco.

“Our target is to reclaim the title,” said Ahmed Abdulla, manager of the Surprise team. “We know the competition is going to be a lot closer this year, but we have a good team. Of course, we have not been able to sign the kind of international stars we brought in the past because most of the domestic and international championships are still going on. So our focus for this year has been on recruiting the best talents available locally and I believe we have collected a good, strong unit.”

The group stages of the volleyball championship will take place from May 8-10 at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex with two matches every night, while the semi-finals will take place on May 12. The play-off for third place is scheduled for the following day and the final on May 14.

“The level of competition has been increasing every year and so we need to make sure we are ready from the opening whistle,” said Khalid Saleh Al Ali. “We have to be focused and try to give an excellent account of ourselves.”

Organised by Dubai Sports Council under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the NAS Sports Tournament is the biggest event of its kind in terms of participation and prize money, and has been held every year in the Holy Month of Ramadan since 2013.

The Tournament has seen more than 22,000 athletes take part over the past six seasons, including amateurs and international legends like Zinedine Zidane and Falcao, and even Ambassadors and Consul Generals of different countries.

The seventh season of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, being held under the slogan ‘Unlimited Capabilities’, will see competition in 13 events: Futsal, Volleyball, Padel, Fencing, Wheelchair Basketball, Futsal for People with Hearing Disabilities, NAS Night Challenge, the 5km and 10km Run, 75km Cycle Race, 3x3 Basketball, Jiu-Jitsu, Cricket and Snowboarding.

Registration is still open for some of the events and those interested can register through the Tournament’s official website: www.nasst.ae.

Registration for NAS Night Challenge and the 5km-10km Run will continue until May 6, while registration for NAS Snowboarding and NAS Cycling will close on May 8 and May 11 respectively, and the last date for registration in the NAS Jiu-Jitsu championship is May 20.