Sheikh Saif bin Saeed bin Saif Al Nahyan kicks off Play For Life 2014

ABU DHABI: Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s “Play for Life Football 2014” got off to a healthy start as Sheikh Saif bin Saeed bin Saif Al Nahyan led more than three hundred and twenty players in a walk around the main stadium at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City.

Sheikh Saif was accompanied in the pre-tournament walk by Bashar Al Ramahi, ICLDC’s CEO, as well as the participating teams representing 16 of Abu Dhabi’s leading organisations.

The walk was followed by a collaborative pledge in support of a healthy lifestyle, as Al Ramahi addressed the players, all eager to sign the pledge wall and start the tournament, now in its seventh year.

Play for Life is part of ICLDC’s public health awareness campaign, Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

Sheikh Saif bin Saeed bin Saif Al Nahyan endorsed the pledge wall and took the first kick of the five-night tournament as he confirmed his support of the campaign’s healthy lifestyle message.

“I thank everyone who has joined me tonight as together we place the spotlight on the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle,” Sheikh Saif said.

Al Ramahi confirmed that a healthy lifestyle is possible by embracing the smart, simple steps of a balanced diet and regular exercise. He also stressed that it is important to maintain a normal body weight.

Round one of Play for Life’s annual football tournament saw the top score come from SEHA who scored 12 goals throughout the 30-minute match against ICLDC (12-0).

Takreer also came down hard on Abu Dhabi Securities, beating them by five goals to one (5-1), as the last match of the day saw Injazat take Cleveland Clinic by surprise beating them by 4-0.

Three of the evening’s eight matches ended in a draw, including the Yashat versus ActiveLife match which ended in a 2-2 draw after Yashat scored the final goal of the match just 18 seconds before the whistle.

Meanwhile, tournament first-timers, twofour54 played hard against IRENA but failed to score, while IRENA managed two in the net (0-2).

There are five trophies waiting to be taken home – one for the tournament winner, and one each for best goal scorer, best goal keeper, man of the tournament and fair play. The 60 players representing the three final teams – each team can register up to 20 men – will each receive a Play for Life medal.