- In an episode of surprises, female footballers challenged the skills of the male contestants
- With Khaled Shenaif, Mohamed Zidan, Michel Salgado and Brazilian football stars Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo
The chase towards ‘The Victorious’ trophy continued in episode ten of the first reality TV show dedicated to uncovering Arab football talents. The episode was aired on Dubai TV and Dubai Sports on Monday 8th April, and saw 10 contestants facing the toughest challenges of Season Three as they battled to qualify for the next round. Hidamu from Morocco and Munaf from Saudi Arabia left the show at the end of the episode, waving goodbye to their dreams of earning the trophy, playing with renowned Spanish clubs and winning the USD 100,000 cash prize.
Nathalie Mamo and Sherif Fayed – the hosts of the show – were greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience before announcing a change in the competition rules that united the yellow and blue teams for the first time. The contestants filed onto the pitch to receive words of wisdom from Michel Salgado, who warned them to prepare themselves for the most demanding challenges of the competition in an episode dubbed ‘Survival of the Strongest’. Saudi Captain Khalid Shenaif advised the contestants to use the new skills they have acquired in previous challenges, while Egyptian Captain Mohamed Zidan wished the contestants luck and urged them to believe in the idea of winning.
Nathalie Mamo then welcomed the Guest of Honour – Brazilian legend and Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos – who launched the first challenge of the night amid much excitement from the audience.
Female Talent The first challenge included a surprise when three female players – Sabreen and Eman from Tunisia and Dalia from Algeria – joined the contestants on the pitch. They challenged the contestants to a battle of precision and strategy that required the players to shoot footballs at a pyramid of boxes in an attempt to knock over as many as possible. In the first round, Sabreen managed to knock over the bulk of the pyramid with a forceful kick that stunned the jury, while in the second round Dalia competed with Eman against Smailly and Mustafa. ‘The Victorious’ contestants managed to secure the winning point but thanks to the outstanding performance of the female football players, the jury announced a well-earned draw.
The second challenge was held between the players in the Elimination Zone – Hidamu from Morocco, Munaf from KSA and Ksour from Algeria. At the end of the challenge, the other contestants were faced with the decision of who to save, and a relieved Ksour rejoined ‘The Victorious’ team.
A surprise for the audience The contestants then embarked on the third challenge, which required the players to rotate their roles while dribbling the footballs, crossing barriers and attempting to score goals. Following three rounds, Smailly had demonstrated excellent control over the ball and won the admiration of Roberto Carlos and the other members of the jury.
Following a series of surprises for the contestants, it was then the audience that was in for a shock as Roberto Carlos selected one of them at random to play with him. ‘Sharif Hamid’, an elderly, bearded man wearing traditional dress, was called forward. Some laughed loudly, but Roberto Carlos quickly realised his opponent’s talents and was surprised by his skills, which brought out his competitive nature. Roberto Carlos called a halt to the game and the player’s heroic identity was revealed as Rivaldo – one of the world’s most famous football players and Roberto Carlos’ close friend. Following a gale of laughter, they went hand-in-hand to the join the judges.
Extraordinary talents During the weekly football match, ‘The Victorious’ team was defeated by Al Ahli with a 1-0 result, but while Salgado was displeased with the loss, he thanked the contestants for their performance and their efforts in all of the exercises and matches. Commenting on the performance, he said: “It’s not fair and can sometimes feel like an endless series of losses.” The weekly match was tough and the contestants often lost their focus and therefore opportunities to score, but one player – Smailly – stood out and was named ‘Man of the Match’ by Salgado for the second time.
The tense atmosphere reached fever pitch as the players in the Elimination Zone came forward to face the fourth and final challenge of the episode – ‘The Challenge of Memory’ – which required them to remember the colours of footballs that were then concealed under boxes. The fun challenge aroused the enthusiasm of the jury and the audience, as the players attempted to uncover the correct footballs and score goals.
Finally, the time came for the judges to make their ultimate decision, with the players in the Elimination Zone standing frozen to the spot and visibly anxious as time crawled by. Nathalie Mamo and Sherif Fayed then received the results, which sent home Moroccan contestant Hidamu and Saudi Arabian contestant Munaf.
Follow ‘The Victorious’ to see who is in danger of leaving the show and also enjoy weekly games and comprehensive reports that take you to the heart of competition. Daily insights into ‘The Victorious’ contestants are aired on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 19:00 UAE time. The weekly challenge episode airs every Monday at 10:30pm UAE time and 6:30pm GMT on Dubai TV and Dubai Sports channels, followed by a re-run on Dubai TV on Friday at 11:30pm and Monday at 05:00am.