du LaLiga HPC Tour Day 5: A budding entrepreneur and Al Wasl in Spain

Chris Bailey 10/08/2017
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The very best teenage talent in the UAE have come together under the du LaLiga High Performance Centre in a mission to achieve their potential and become professional footballers.

The starlets all have a huge chance in Marbella this month as they aim to impress LaLiga scouts and earn trials at clubs while playing top-class Spanish academies.

Sport360° are there for the first week of the tour – check out the best of Day 5 below.

PART FOOTBALLER, PART ENTREPRENEUR

Football is never far from the minds of the du LaLiga HPC starlets, but many have dreams that expand well beyond the confines of the pitch.

For no one is that more true than 15-year-old Adham Bayoumi – who wants to be a fashionable player in more ways than one.

Though the Egyptian national, UAE-born winger is one of the best talents on du LaLiga HPC Under-16s’ team, he already has a back-up if Plan A does not bear fruit.

Next month marks the launch of Finesse Dubai, a line of streetwear clothing that Bayoumi and his friends hope will take off after spotting a gap in the market.

“Fashion is a big part of the Dubai lifestyle and football as well, and people in Dubai really like to show off what they’re wearing,” he explained. “I feel like I can influence people with my style and try and create something new and unique, which is also authentic to Dubai.

“Me and my friends decided to create a brand called Finesse Dubai and we took inspiration from our favourite brands.

“With that we are set to launch in September. I already have everything with me, like the shirts – they are all in my room waiting!

“We have a supplier from China – prior to that I bought 100 blanks from a wholesale, but it was not as efficient as it was coming from America and the shipping prices were very expensive.”

U16 HPC Captain Bayoumi celebrates 4-1 victory against Sevilla

Pumped up: Under-16s captain Adham Bayoumi.

Indeed the teenager leads a busier life than most, as just before touching down with du LaLiga HPC in Marbella, he had completed an entrepreneur course during his ‘month off’ at Brown University in America.

Despite those other distractions, football remains Bayoumi’s biggest passion – having been scouted for du LaLiga HPC through the UAE Streets Cup.

“I think the whole feel of the du LaLiga HPC is very professional,” he added. “You train in a stadium, you use professional balls, you have the professional coaches, you come to Spain and have the media follow you also.

“I have high hopes to become a professional, and my dream is to be playing in a top team – a team in the top five leagues in Europe.

“If that doesn’t work out, we have different universities in mind like Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford if I’m crazy smart.

“They are all very creative universities and a lot of start-ups start there. We say if I can’t play professional football, why not buy a professional club when I’m older!”

AL WASL SPOTTED IN MARBELLA

The tourists had a taste of home yesterday as Dubai-based Al Wasl played a friendly against local side Balona at Marbella Football Centre, where the youngsters train every day.

There was drama ahead of kick-off as small fires sprung up just outside the centre, and a helicopter was needed to dump water and snuff the flames out.

Unfortunately for Al Wasl their football was less than sizzling, as the local third division side won the match 2-0. It’s still early days, however …

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du LaLiga HPC Tour Day 4: Success in Sevilla against both academy teams

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The very best teenage talent in the UAE have come together under the du LaLiga High Performance Centre in a mission to achieve their potential and become professional footballers.

The starlets all have a huge chance in Marbella this month as they aim to impress LaLiga scouts and earn trials at clubs while playing top-class Spanish academies.

Sport360° are there for the first week of the tour – check out the best of Day 4 below.

du LaLiga HPC Under-18s 1 Sevilla Under-18s 0

The Under-18s made it two wins out of two in Spain by following up their 2-1 victory in Cadiz with a disciplined performance against Sevilla.

Driss Matni – who got on the scoresheet against Cadiz – opened the scoring 15 minutes into the match.

A failed attempt at a clearance from the Sevilla defence enabled team captain Neto to send a beautiful throughball to Matni, who slotted a shot through the last defender’s legs and into the back of the net.

Driss Lightning: Matni (l) scored the only goal of the Under-18s match.

Driss Lightning: Matni (l) scored the only goal of the Under-18s match.

From then on the du LaLiga HPC team maintained a strong defensive stance, stifling all Sevilla attempts on goal with man-to-man marking and solid defensive lines blocking any counter-attacks.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

His participation was in doubt due to an injury that kept him out of the Cadiz match but Yahya Iraqi was a sight to behold when he came on in the second half.

Flitting between the wing and central attack, Yahya seemed to have more time on the ball than the rest of the players on the pitch.

He was especially dangerous transitioning the ball from midfield to attack in tight spaces and gave Sevilla plenty to think about.

du LaLiga HPC Under-16s 4 Sevilla Under-16s 1

The Under-16s recovered from the loss of their first competitive match against Cadiz style after striker Mehdi Elkhamlichi completed a hat-trick in the second half.

Elkhamlichi put the tourists in front in the 10th minute before Sevilla battled back to level terms in a sweeping counter-attack.

However, that was one of the few chances that the HPC team allowed and they were soon back in front, Elkhamlichi applying another neat finish 25 minutes in.

Tour De Four-ce: The Under-16s pose after their superb 4-1 victory.

Tour De Four-ce: The Under-16s pose after their superb 4-1 victory.

Some clever footwork helped Elkhamlichi evade all Sevilla defenders in his path and finish off his treble midway through the second half.

The visitors also had the last word – and what a statement it was. Abhinav John, who is just 13 years of age, struck a swooping effort from 25 metres out to round off a fine win.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

John and especially Elkhamlichi may have deserved much of the praise but two players stood out further back on the pitch.

Before the Under-16s sped away in the second half they needed to be vigilant in defence and centre-backs Mohamed El Shabrawy and Abdul Rahman were beasts at the back.

Save for one defensive lapse that led to the goal, Yahthe pairing were imperious and El Shabrawy even made one surging run through the middle that sparked a promising attack.

POST-MATCH REACTION

Under-18s – Yahya Iraqi

“I think we played very well, and in the second half we continued with the same instruction coach Rafa (Gil) told us.

“In the second half we started getting a bit tired and losing concentration, and that’s when we let them have space and we didn’t respect what coach Rafa told us. But in the end we regained our concentration and sealed the win.

“I injured myself the day before the first game so I didn’t play or train for a few days. I just made it in time for this one and came on in the second half.

“I had the spirit and wanted to prove to coach Rafa that I deserved my place in the team and my injury wasn’t that big an issue. I gave everything and think I played well.”

Under-16s – Mehdi Elkhamlichi

“Because we communicated and played our game, it was easy for us – we were mentally ready for our match. The goals we didn’t really focus on, we just play and the goals come later on.

“We focused on counter-attacks because we all know Sevilla play really fast so we tried to get the ball and play on the wings. One goal came from the counter-attack and mostly we pressed, to get the ball and score.

“Personally I think I’ve been playing at the top of my game so far, but I hope I keep going on.”

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Zayed Sports City Academy launches new football program at National Stadium

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Football has a new address as Zayed Sports City (ZSC), the UAE’s premier sports and entertainment destination, expands its portfolio of high-quality, athletic line-ups to include the UAE’s most beloved sport.

The new football program will be housed under ZSC Academy and joins the current selection of in-house coaching programs available in tennis and ice skating.

Open to novice, enthusiast and elite footballers aged four to 16, it marks the first time that the UAE’S National Stadium will see a training program on home pitch.

Set to run from September 10, 2017 to June 23, 2018, the program for budding champions offers three streams of skills sets, makes use of ZSC’s high-quality facilities and offers exceptional training from coaches with globally-recognised UEFA accreditation.

STREAMS INCLUDE:

Fundamental: Aims to develop active lifelong habits in a fun, learning atmosphere using realistic tactics in an age-appropriate setting for ages 10 and under.

Developmental: Encourages consistency and understanding of competition strategies for ages 10 and up.

High Performance: Focuses on elite development through intensive training with technical, tactical, mental and physical components for ages 10 and above.

Open to all football fanatics, regardless of expertise, the new program is competitively priced to offer affordability, with uniforms included and a no “joining fee”—a common administrative charge.

The academy will also offer the added bonus of unique football-themed installations such as “pole soccer” and “foot darts”.

Coaches will be holding assessment days the week of 3 September 2017, for all those interested in registering.

Participants will have opportunity to experience ZSC Academy’s newest program, showcase their skills and determine the best placement for developmental improvement.

Saif Al Mehairbi, Chairman of Zayed Sports City, said: “ZSC Academy’s continued growth and success solidifies Zayed Sports City’s commitment to nurturing local talent and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

“This country is filled with an abundance of passionate athletes waiting to be discovered and developed with focused training and educational expertise. We’re very excited to be able to make this happen, that too in the very stadium where Sheikh Zayed himself witnessed some of the nation’s greatest football achievements.”

Since inception one year ago, ZSC Academy has supported successful projects intended to encourage a fit community.

These include elements of this year’s UAE National Sports Day celebration and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, where coaches led clinics with tennis stars and the community as well as staffed an interactive participation zone to encourage beginners.

The academy was also shortlisted at the 2017 Sport Industry Awards, making it one of the region’s top 10 Best Youth Sports Organizations, only four months after being established.

Registration for the new football program and existing tennis and ice skating programs for children and adults is now open.

Those interested in participating should visit zscacademy.com, email [email protected] or search Zayed Sports City on social media.

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