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UAE Heat to make debut

  • Monday, June 25 2007 @ 06:43 am ACST
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Middle East

A highlight of the Asian football calendar, the Asian Australian Football Championships are now less than a month away. The United Arab Emirates Heat are one of two countries to debut at this year's Championship - their squad comprised of players from the country’s two primary clubs; its namesake and football-pioneers the Dingoes. Below is a brief look at footy in the UAE following the Dubai 9s and the Heat's preparation for Bangkok next month, plus a correction to the article's first release.

Since the Dingoes hosted the first-ever Dubai 9s, a nine-a-side football tournament which drew teams from the Emirates plus a team each from Oman and Qatar, football has developed a noteworthy following in the Middle Eastern nation, which now looks set to be rewarded with an AFL exhibition match in early 2008. The Dingoes have provided a rally point for fans of the game, with a reported 10,000 Australians in the region. Something unimaginable a single year ago, the country will this year be represented in Asian football's biggest competition. In preparation, the Dubai Dingoes and the Dubai Heat have been playing regular matches against each other, and holding training sessions at the Exiles Rugby Ground. Whilst the Heat won the inaugural Dubai 9s, the Dingoes have bettered them in every match since.

The following account from the match on June 6 is courtesy of the Dubai Dingoes.

The Heat were always going to get off to a good start, but some great one-percenters and ball movement from the Dingoes saw them only a couple of goals down at quarter time. Mick ‘Libber’ Patton caused havoc with some great contested marks that gave the Heat something to worry about. Water flowed at the first break; the Dingoes discussed tactics and a few (mainly British) onlookers watching the soccer and netball matches moved to the main field to see the footy.

The Heat came out in the second quarter with something to prove and never really allowed the Dingoes to make the most of the breeze. Mick Patton still managed to squeeze a few between the big sticks, whilst Ben Edwards, Pete runs-all-day and Emile Morel moved the ball from the back line to the flanks, but the Dingoes struggled to find space in the forward line.

At the half the Heat held a commanding five goal lead, and kicking with the breeze in the third, would have been having a chuckle to themselves. Great Pressure from the Dingoes in the third saw them get back into the game. Joe, Andrew, Pete and Brent had notable performances, but the Dingoes were still down by three goals going into the final quarter.

Quick goals to Brent, Ben and Mick gave the Dingoes a sniff. Three points down, the Dingoes lifted and stole the game in the last minute thanks to handball from Mick Patton to ‘Plugger’ who snapped quickly and goaled.

Due to the hot summer in Dubai, June 27 will be the club's final training session until after summer. In July/August the club will be holding a general meeting to discuss the best way forward for the club and the Dubai Dingoes website will be going live soon.

Correction 28/06/2007: We have received word from the Dubai Heat that there were some inaccuracies in the information on which this article is based. They have kindly provided a clarification below.

The Dubai Heat will form the bulk of United Arab Emirates Heat squad in Bangkok next month, with two members of the Dingoes’ side lending their skills. Four matches have been held involving the two teams since the local tournament. Two of these involved a combined Heat/Dingoes sides. Of the other two, one was played 10 against 10 and was won by the Heat in excess of 10 goals. The other was played 12 against 9 for the final three quarters (Dingoes advantage), to help even up the sides. This was won by the Dingoes by less than a goal.