Almost two thousand players representing more than 128 teams head to the UAE capital for the return of the youth tournament on February 18 and 19. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Organisers of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup say the city is set for the most exciting edition of the tournament yet as teams begin final preparations for the competition.

Last played in 2019, the event returns after the pandemic featuring an expanded tournament format and more entertainment and activities around the pitches at Zayed Sports City.

Simon Hewitt, Tournament Director and Senior Manager Football Operations MENA for City Football Schools, said the ethos of the Abu Dhabi Cup is to promote both competition and allow players to enjoy themselves.

Ideal setting

He said, “The environment provides an ideal setting for young players to have fun, express themselves and make memories. The format of the tournament gives all the players the chance to be successful and with this unique concept, we can’t wait to see so many happy young players enjoying the beautiful game."

He added, "With the large number of teams from across the world participating, the tournament will give young players from diverse backgrounds and cultures the chance to interact and learn from each other, all united under the common bond of football. I am looking forward to seeing all the young players from over 13 countries playing football again in an international tournament. Abu Dhabi as a destination and Manchester City will come together and provide this unique opportunity for all to enjoy. Bring on the football!”

The 2023 edition of the youth football tournament features 1,700 players representing more than 13 countries, with the world’s brightest young stars heading to the capital of the UAE vying to be crowned this year’s champions.

Inspiring the youth

Originally launched in 2017 with the aim of developing and inspiring young football players in the region, the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will return this year for its fourth edition after last being held in 2019.

Running from 18-19 February in Zayed Sports City, the tournament gives young players the chance to play against some of the best competition from around the world, with one winning team earning a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the City Football Academy in Manchester.

In addition to all the exciting action on the pitch, the general public will be treated to some exclusive live entertainment and activities in the ‘City Village’. These experiences include performances from Freestyler Ammar Freez, special appearances from Manchester City mascots Moonbeam and Moonchester, along with other activities like netball, face painting and much more.