Tuesday 12 March 2019
Dubai, UAE, 10 March 2019 –After five months of intense competition around the nation, the UAE’s best youth football teams from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Northern Emirates and Dubai faced off for the first time in the national Semi-Finals of du Football Champions, in partnership with LaLiga.
In an action-packed day, over 600 young players, aged 10 to 17, from both public and private schools and across 140 nationalities, gave it their all, fighting hard to secure their place in Finals of du Football Champions, home UAE’s official Schools and Streets Cups and Girls Challenge, which will take place later this month.
“Based on what we’ve seen, not only this weekend, but throughout the tournament since November, we expect the du Football Champions Finals to be a memorable event showcasing the best youth football teams in the UAE,” said Abdulwahid Juma, Executive VP, Brand & Corporate Communications at du.
Juma added, “With our partners, LaLiga the strongest league in the world, the du Football Champions is the biggest scouting tournament in the UAE revealing the best talent in the country and providing them a safe platform to play, develop, and progress to the highest levels of football here and abroad. We look forward to carry this tradition forward for years to come and continue to grow the youth football community across the UAE through the tournament and du Talents, the Middle East’s first digital scouting platform.”
In a record setting Semi-Final, Dubai English Speaking College paved their way to the finals of the du Football Champions, in partnership with LaLiga, in three categories: UAE Schools Cup Boys U16, U14, U12. Aside from DESC, top performing schools include Al Maarifa International Private School, The International School of Choueifat, and Rashid Bin Saeed. Speaking on the achievements of his teams thus far, DESC Head Coach Paul Barratt said, “We set out to make it to the finals with at least one of our teams, but to make it all the way with all our teams is amazing. In the four years that we’ve played this tournament, we’ve never made it this far, falling just short each time. We are thrilled with the results this year and hope to take home at least one cup.”
Up against former champions Rashid Bin Saeed from Hatta in U16, Al Maarifa International Private School in U14, and The International School of Choueifat in U12, Barratt added, “We had good opposition in the early stages, but we know in the finals we’re up against the best in the country in each category.”
Former champions, public school Rashid Bin Saeed U16 eliminated 2019 Champs, The International School of Choueifat in the Semi-Finals this weekend. “It’s like watching professionals play. These boys are truly excellent,” said Choueifat Coach Edward Fenics upon his team’s defeat. “It’s not easy to lose, but when we lose to a team that plays this well, it softens the blow a bit.”
Al Maarifa U16 was knocked out by rookies New Academy School in a tense penalty shootout reminiscent of last year’s final between Al Maarifa and Choueifat that ended in a 18-19 win to Choueifat. Dejected, Maarifa Coach Moustafa Ramadan commented, “Every year it ends in penalties for my team. The school has two teams in the finals, but not the U16 - maybe next year we’ll take home the prize. At du Football Champions, you never know how it’s going to go! We keep coming back because it’s the best organized tournament with the strongest teams. We love it!” New Academy was later eliminated by DESC.
Also setting records in the UAE Girls Challenge, LaLiga Valencia cleared their way to the UAE Finals having won all their games while conceding no goals. They will face City Football Club.
Finally, in a major upset in the Streets Cup U16, Dubai’s Baki II beat Remontada in penalties and will face Al Ain City in the finals. Al Maarifa eliminated Lycee Francais George Pompidou in a fast-paced, heated Semi-Final. They face Fareeq Al Marhoum Ahmed a team named in memory of a deceased player. And finally in the Streets Cup U14 category, Abu Dhabi’s Dragon Academy will play Sharjah’s Stallions Team B in the finals.
Stay connected via du Talents, the Middle East’s 1st Digital Scouting Talent Platform allowing footballers to be discovered. Join now and be discovered! https://talent.dufc.ae/
About du Football Champions
du Football Champions is a nationwide initiative featuring the UAE’s official Schools Cup and Streets Cup and is the only international youth football scouting platform in partnership with LaLiga. Conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Dubai Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, du Football Champions aims to achieve sustainable human development through the discovery of promising talents, who will raise the bar on sports excellence at local and national levels as they aim to become the next generation of professional male and female footballers.
Played to world-class standards, the Cups are conducted at a national level and played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates. The Championship is open to boys and girls aged 10-17 and will pave the way for youth to cultivate their sporting talents and aptitudes by enabling them to participate either through their school or together with their friends.
To register your school or for sponsorship opportunities visit: www.dufc.ae
Full games results are posted on www.dufc.ae
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