Who are they? Al Wahda
Where are they from? Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates
How did they qualify? Host team of this year’s edition

Winners of the 2009/10 United Arab Emirates Premier League, Al Wahda will represent the country as club hosts in this year’s 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, after Al Ahli had the luxury of doing in last year’s edition. Just days after Qatar clinched the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Arab supporters will be completely backing Al Wahda in this mini-tournament, hoping that the small side will be making a noticeable impact on the competition.


While participation in competitions like this gives the local supporters much to be happy about, the truth remains that the hosting club will no doubt be overlooked as likely winners of the 2010 event. While such big names as FC Barcelona are not present in this year’s contest, the likes of Internacional and Italian treble winners Internazionale will definitely make it hard for the Arab team to win the Club World Cup. However, the home support are still hoping for a good showing and a semi-final meeting with Inter is a target that many believe is achievable.


Key players

Fernando Baiano – Forward: The team’s most famous player, Baiano is definitely his team’s go-to-guy up front. Having plied his trade in Europe before exchanging the old continent for the United Arab Emirates league, Baiano is an experienced player that will undoubtedly play a huge role in his team’s potential success in the competition. The 31-year-old has scored goals in Brazil, Germany and Spain, and will be a focal point here.

Bashir Saeed – Defender: A veteran defender and his team’s trusted captain, Saeed is one of the best stoppers in the country. The skipper will have to be on top form and fitness to rebuff the many dangers that his team will encounter in the Club World Cup. With over 50 international caps, Saeed knows all about the big occasion.

Ismail Matar – Forward: Fernando Baiano’s accomplice in crime in the final third, Ismail Matar has been one of his country’s best front players in recent years, with 88 international caps to his name already, and a not too shabby 26 goals to go with them. In games where chances could be at a premium, the striker will be needed to take any that come his way.


Josef Hickersberger: A former player and coach of the Austrian national team, Josef Hickersberger has enjoyed relative success coaching in his native country and at some Middle Eastern clubs. The 62-year-old is most well known for being Austria coach when his country co-hosted Euro 2008 with Switzerland. With the former Rapid Vienna player in charge, Al Wahda will be hoping to go as far as possible in this tournament.


While last year’s edition of the contest was headlined by Barcelona, who ended up enjoying an unprecedented sextuple, the fact that there are still far bigger teams than Al Wahda means that the club’s chances of staging an upset and winning the competition remain minimal. Similarly to Al Ahli last year, Al Wahda could even find themselves crashing out in the first round against Hekari United. Progress of any sort will be most welcome.