Dubai Some of the top junior sides from Europe will vie with six clubs from Dubai in the 2nd Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Under-19 International Football Tournament to be held here from April 6-16.
Junior teams from Al Shabab, Al Nasr and Dubai Club will clash against Lega Pro, Italy and Al Jahraa FC, Kuwait in Group A, while Al Wasl, Al Ahli and Hatta Club will be up against Racing Club De Lens from France and Birmingham FC from the United Kingdom in Group B when competition kicks off this Friday (April 6).
The preliminary matches for Group A will be held at Al Nasr Club while those from Group B will be played at Al Wasl Club. Teams will use Al Ahli and Al Shabab as their training base during the course of the competition.
After the preliminary round matches the best two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals that will be played at the Al Nasr Club from April 14-16. "The vision of having a competition in this age group is to ensure progression for our junior players who are about the break into the senior sides. Such a high-level tournament will only add value and give the juniors a valuable experience," noted Mohammad Mattar Ghorab, DSC Member, Pro Committee.
The first edition of the competition attracted teams like Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Werder Bremen. The second edition is open to players born in 1992 and after and all participating teams will be allowed to have the services of two unregistered players on a trial basis. Matches will be played over two halves of 40 minutes each.
"We tried our best to bring in other high-profile teams from Europe, but it somehow did not work out due to the timing. However, we have had a keen response from these teams for the next edition," related Ali Omar from DSC.
Besides trophies and medals for the top three teams, there will be separate individual prizes for the best goalkeeper, the top scorer of the tournament and a Fair Play trophy. Stadia 5 Sports and Sales Consulting, the organizers of the competition on behalf of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), will also ensure visiting teams get to visit the country and take in the culture and heritage of the UAE.
In the opening match this Friday, Al Nasr will play Dubai Club at 4.30 pm, while Al Shabab will face Lega Pro, Italy in the second match at 6.30 pm at the Al Nasr Club.
On the same day, RC Lens will take on Hatta Club at 4.30 pm, while Al Wasl will play Al Ahli at 6.30 pm in the Group B matches at Al Wasl Club. The two semi-finals will be held at 4 pm and 6 pm at the Al Nasr Club ground on April 14, while the final has been scheduled for 5 pm on Monday (April 16).
The second edition of the championship is sponsored by DSC, Stadia 5, Auris Hotels, Decathlon and Aquafina.
(Group A) Italy Lega Pro; Al Shabab Al Arabi, Dubai; Al Nasr, Dubai; Dubai Club and Al Jahraa FC, Kuwait.
(Group B) RC Lens, France; Birmingham FC, UK; Al Wasl, Dubai; Al Ahli, Dubai; Hatta Club.