Ras Al Khaimah: The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which partnered with The Football Academy (TFA) earlier this year to encourage young sporting talent, has sent three UAE football hopefuls for trials with Italian Serie B side, Carpi FC.

Selected by TFA coaches after months of assessments, 15-year-olds Ali Al Basir and Humberto Bolanos, and 16-year-old Haziq Zed, recently flew to northern Italy to train with Carpi’s Under-16 team.

Should the youngsters impress, they will have the option of signing pre-contract terms with the club — the first step to turning professional.

During the week, the trio learnt from the Italian team’s coaches and competed against their peers in matches, showcasing skills honed on the fields of Ras Al Khaimah.

“It is a great honour to be able to encourage and support our young talent through their dreams, and watch them grow and develop. Via our partnership with TFA, we have already hosted a number of training matches in Ras Al Khaimah and to see these three young men competing in Europe is testament to our commitment to provide opportunities for our youngsters,” said RAKTDA chief executive officer, Haitham Mattar.

TFA head coach Ali Al Jishi, added: “Ali, Haziq and Humberto are three very talented individuals. Whether they are successful in securing a contract this week or not, they will gain world-class skills training that will elevate their game to the next level.”

TFA is committed to identifying local football talent and further developing players to the highest possible level. RAKTDA is the youth team’s jersey sponsor and will support the squad through various initiatives throughout the year.

Commenting on their own experiences, Al Basir said: “The trials have been an opportunity to test our abilities physically and mentally at an advanced level. It’s an outstanding chance to display how far we’ve come as players and as people.”

Teammate Zed added: “The Carpi trial is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our abilities and skills, and to test our mental capabilities. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get a glimpse into professional football. The chance to be trained by high level coaches is a wonderful privilege.”

Bolanos said: “This trial means a lot to me and it is a great opportunity for me and my teammates to see the level of a professional club and what it takes to become pro. It is a great pleasure to be chosen for this trial and it’s a great opportunity to show how good we are as football players. This is an experience I will never forget.”

RAKTDA announced last month plans to further develop and enhance its sport tourism offering via new adventure activities across Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak, and attracting international sporting tournaments, such as the return of the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge, which made its debut in 2016.