Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi group stages of the Du Football Champions (DuFC) ended on a high note at Zayed Sports City.

Scouts were on hand from La Liga to spot the talent of kids as young as nine.

“The younger the players, the more time we have to develop them to become pro footballers. From our experience, it’s the time to build good habits and leadership skills,” said David Iglesias, senior La Liga scout.

“However, we want to develop talent at all ages. We have seen today a few excellent players across all categories, both boys and girls, and we look forward to inviting them for trials to join the Du La Liga High Performance Centre (HPC) in the weeks to come.”

Abu Dhabi Indian School Muroor’s Under-16s defeated Merryland International 5-0 in their Schools Cup Boys group. In the Streets Cup Boys U16 Group F, Dragon Academy edged Al Shahama on goal difference and will likely meet La Liga Academy Boys U16 in the knockout round on December 8. The best in each category in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain meet in Zayed Sports City in two weeks to compete for their place in the UAE semi-finals.

This week’s crowning story came from Raha International School coached by Desiree Small. Although Raha has played in Du Football Champions since 2015, the school never had enough girls interested in playing football.

“Last year, we started putting a team together and it gained traction among the girls,” said Small. “Seeing the success of the boys in the tournament encouraged the girls to play. Day by day, I saw them get better. We jumped on the opportunity to register in Du Football Champions this year with a girls’ team for the first time. And the hard work paid off. I am so proud that we qualified for the Abu Dhabi knock-outs, winning all our games. The girls played really well. We’re also happy that the Raha Boys U16 team are through again too, which is super,” said Coach Small.

“We look forward to battling it out on December 8 for our chance to make it to the semi-finals and to catch La Liga scouts’ eyes for a potential spot for the girls at du La Liga HPC.”