Dubai-based soccer club Al-Nasr SC will sign an Israeli player in the coming days, a move made possible after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced it was normalizing ties with the Jewish state last month.
Israel national team midfielder Dia Saba, who is currently playing for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F, is set to leave the Far East outfit after a year-and-a-half stint and sign a three-year contract worth $3 million a season with the UAE club, becoming the first-ever Israeli player to don the kit of an Arabian Gulf state sports club.
Saba signed for Guangzhou R&F from Hapoel Be'er Sheva F.C. in January 2019 in a deal worth 5 million euros and linked up with compatriot and Israeli national team striker, Eran Zahavi, who also left the Chinese side recently to sign for Dutch giants P.S.V Eindhoven.
During his stint in Guangzhou, the midfielder found the back of the net 18 times in 37 appearances.
Al-Nasr is the first-ever soccer club to be formed in the Gulf kingdom, established in 1945, and plays in its top-flight. The club hosts its games at the Al Maktoum Stadium, which has a 15,000-seat capacity.
The club has won the UAE first division 3 times in its history, lifting its last league title 34 years ago. Al-Nasr has also won the domestic cup 4 times, the UAE Federation Cup 3 times, the Supercup twice, and the league cup twice – winning its last honor just last season after a 2:1 win over defending champions Shabab Al Ahli.
The UAE league has not yet started, and a number of games have already been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Al-Nasr is scheduled to host Ajman on October 18 as part of the UAE Arabian Gulf League's fourth matchday.