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Arab-Israeli football becomes first to join a Gulf league following accords

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Published: 2 October 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

The Emirati Al-Nasr soccer club has recruited Arab-Israeli star Dia Saba, who will be the first Israeli to join a Gulf league

HISTORY WAS MADE when Arab-Israeli soccer player Dia Saba signed with Dubai’s Al-Nasr football club. As he leaves the Chinese club Guangzhou R&F to join the team from Dubai, 28-year-old Saba will be the first Israeli player to ever set foot on an Emirati soccer field. The deal was made possible largely by the normalization agreement signed this month between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Saba made his first breakthrough while playing for the Maccabee Netanya soccer club. He ended the season as the Israeli Super League’s top scorer with 24 goals. The achievement earned him a place on what was then Israel’s champion team, HaPoel Beersheba. Just a few months later, he was acquired by Guangzhou R&F for $5 million. After two years there, he left the club this week and signed with Al-Nasr Dubai.

“I just hope that I am not dreaming, and that all of a sudden, I will wake up,” he wrote in an Instagram post after signing with Al-Nasr. “People here are constantly saying that this is historic. Just moments after the peace agreement, the mood in the streets and in the club is warm and inviting.”

FULL STORY: Arab-Israeli soccer star joins Emirati league (Al-Monitor)

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The real achievement of the Abraham Accords isn’t geopolitical—it’s cultural

Photo: Dia Saba unveils his new jersey at a signing with his new club Al Nasr (Newsbox.pk)

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