UAE Rugby secretary general Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai lauds inaugural Arab Rugby 7s in Egypt

UAE Rugby secretary general Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai lauds inaugural Arab Rugby 7s in Egypt

Egypt successfully hosted the first Arab Rugby 7s at El-Gouna where the participating countries included United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and of course the hosts.

 

by Marwan Ahmed
6th March 2016

 

Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai is the first Arab Rugby Chairman.

Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai is the first Arab Rugby Chairman.

Egypt successfully hosted the first Arab Rugby 7s at El-Gouna where the participating countries included United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and of course the hosts.

UAE rugby secretary general Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai was present at the historic event and revealed the reason behind the initiation of the ARF.

“A driving factor behind the Arab Federation for Rugby was the Pan Arab games,” he said. “We had thought of participating in the competition but we had to have a federation to do so.

“After that I contacted Rugby Federation presidents from most Arab countries like Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon. We came to an agreement and the federation was created.

“We have many experienced teams in the federation, such as Morocco who have been playing the game for over 100 years now.”

Regarding his history with the sport, Al Dhalai revealed a little-known detail about himself.

 

“When I was young I actually used to play football,” he told reporters. “I played for all age levels until the Emirati Olympic national team and with Al Wasl SC. I was even included in the second draft for the 2007 youth World Cup.

“But I fell in love with rugby and was later proudly chosen by the UAE’s Ministry of Youth and Sports to represent the Rugby Federation. I was even given the honor of representing my country at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The former AGL player clearly has a genuine affinity for rugby and highlighted why he prefers the sport over any other.

 

“Rugby is a game for everyone. It involves athleticism and your hands and legs are both highly involved in the game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what your size is, you’ll get a position on the team. It encourages personal bonding between teammates and is actually a very fun sport.

 

On the Arab Rugby 7s Al Dhalai was equally complimentary.

“Everything was perfect from the moment we arrived in Egypt,” the newly-appointed Arab Rugby 7s chairman said. “The organization of the tournament is excellent thanks to the Egyptian Rugby Football Union and their vice-president Hassan Khaled.

The Arab Rugby 7s tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Lebanon but they decided to withdraw from the event due to several factors.

 

“Lebanon played in two tournaments in the previous two weeks, one of them being in India,” he explained. “Five of their players became injured and subsequently it was almost impossible for them to travel to Egypt and have with a fully fit squad.

“In addition to the reason I stated, Lebanon’s political situation at the moment is not that stable so we did not want to be a burden on them.”

Al Dhalai confirmed that none of the participating countries had any safety concerns about coming to Egypt for the tournament.

“We had no safety worries before arriving here,” he said. “We spoke to our good friends in the ERFA and they confirmed to us that Egypt is safe and indeed it is.

“El-Gouna is the perfect venue for such an event, far away from all the crowded areas in Egypt.”

This article originally appeared on KingFut.com

sport360