The Arabian Gulf League is the top professional football league in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Al-Ain has been the super power of the league with a record 12 league titles to their name.
Al Ain have had a turbulent half season losing three of four matches at the beginning of March until a hat trick from Brazilian player, Dyanfres Douglas, put them back in the running.
UAE football has come along in leaps and bounds since the early league, which was founded in 1973 as the UAE Football League. In February 2007, the Pro League Committee was formed, and became the organising body of the League, whose name was changed to the UAE Pro League. Starting from the 2013–14 season the name was controversially changed to the UAE Arabian Gulf League much to the dislike of the Iranian Persians across the watery way.
Al Ain has won the most titles a staggering 58 in total, more than any other club in the UAE. Al Ain is also the first and only club in the UAE to win the AFC Champions League (2003). This season, they however are currently in a top of the table battle with Al Ahli with only four weeks to go in the season.
The UAE press are boiling over with excitement as the last rounds provide a title race for the league’s major prize. In the last five seasons the champions have won the title with three weeks left to go, so it is no wonder that the Arab football fraternity is awash with trepidation and excitement.
Both teams have shared the champion’s limelight for the past five years and this year it is sure to be a treat with them meeting for the final time on April 14th. Bring Al Ain 2016 Asian Champions League matches into the mix, and the last few weeks of this competition are sure to be the subject of most conversations in the shisha cafes of the Arabian Peninsula.
Al Ain’s saviour may come in the form of Douglas, in a deal, which replaced the Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike.
"I am aware of what I am required to do with the team. Football recognises actions rather than promises. Therefore, I will double my efforts to show my best during the upcoming encounters of the highly-ranked club", he said.
With ten goals from as many matches Douglas would normally be the idol of Al Ain fans, but missed opportunities and even worse, missed penalties in recent matches, have made him a target of condemnation and ire with the Al Ain fans.
The last few weeks of the season are shaping up to be one of the most memorable in Arabian Gulf League history.
(On Location in Dubai)