Aspiring young footballers in Chicago trained by Manchester City players and coaches

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English Premier League champions Manchester City hosted a community football festival at Chicago’s Haas Park where aspiring local football players got to be trained by City players and coaches.

The team were in the city ahead of their International Champions Cup match against Borussia Dortmund on Friday at Soldier Field.

Members of the City first team, including new signing Riyad Mahrez, attended the festival alongside club ambassadors and former players Mike Summerbee and Paul Dickov.

The UAE Special Olympics team, in Chicago for the Games’ 50th anniversary celebrations taking place this month, also visited the festival ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, due to take place in the UAE capital in March next year.

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of ‘people of determination’ into everyday society.

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most unified games in history and promises to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Local community members, alongside members of City supporters’ clubs, took part in the festival where they experienced exciting fan activations and football-themed games.

Supporters also got the chance to have their photo taken with the Premier League trophy and League Cup that were won by City last season.

This festival builds on Manchester City’s global community work that is delivered in 18 cities around the world through the Cityzens Giving programme – empowering young leaders to use football to tackle important social issues in their communities.

The festival took place at the football facilities at Haas Park Soccer Field that was originally gifted by the UAE embassy in October 2012 and where hundreds of local children have benefitted from football and education sessions.

Omar Berrada, Manchester City’s chief operating officer, said: “One of the most special things about Manchester City’s international tours is getting the opportunity to host events in the local communities that we visit.

“Football festivals like we saw today in Chicago are a fantastic way for us to provide fun and inclusive activities for children and young people, and bring an authentic City experience right into the neighbourhoods of our supporters.”

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Former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu appointed new coach of Al Wahda reserves

Denzil Pinto 21/07/2018
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Heading to the UAE: Adrian Mutu

Al Wahda have pulled off a major coup by announcing former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu as the new coach of their reserve team.

Mutu, 39, moves to Al Nahyan Stadium on a two-year deal according to reports.

“Al Wahda football club announce the contract with the Romanian coach Adrian Mutu with the 39-year-old to take over the training of the reserve team,” said a club statement.

“Mutu is a great addition to the team. His football record includes many team achievements and numbers. He has already represented the Romanian team and a number of European clubs as a football player.”

Mutu arrives in the capital to link up with compatriot Laurentiu Reghecamp, who took over the Clarets from Javier Aguirre last term.

Mutu’s last and only managerial appointment to date was a brief and unsuccessful coaching stint with Romanian top-flight club FC Voluntari where he won just three of his eight games in charge.

The former Fiorentina forward only took over in April having been general manager of FC Dinamo until October 2017 and then sports director of the Romanian Football Federation.

He will be hoping for much better fortunes in the UAE when he takes charge of an Al Wahda reserves side who will be aiming to reclaim their Arabian Gulf League reserves title after finishing runners-up to Al Nasr by four points last season.

Al Wahda open their league campaign with a visit to Dibba Al Fujairah on September 1.

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AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers initiative set to unite communities

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‘Sign-up, inspire your community and be part of the UAE’s most expansive and most exciting sporting event’.

That is the compelling call to action from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the launch of a new far-reaching tournament initiative, known as the ‘AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers’ programme.

Over the next few months the LOC is seeking to recruit 100 enthusiastic community ambassadors to deliver the message of the approaching tournament.

Known as ‘Playmakers’ after the important role of midfield players who act as the engines for their team, distributing and setting others up for success, the 100-strong group will share the tournament’s vision of ‘Bringing Asia Together’ and by doing so help to deliver the most accessible, connected and successful AFC Asian Cup in history.

Open now to candidates by contacting [email protected], the initiative is seeking the most social, passionate and influential people residing in the UAE from each of the 24 competing nations to officially sign-up and play a pivotal role as honorary envoys.

‘PLAYMAKERS’ TO UNITE COMMUNITIES FOR AFC ASIAN CUP UAE 2019 (3)

Amongst the first Playmakers to be recruited are: Emirati ex-professional footballer Ahmed Al Balooshi, Jessica Cullen, a prodigious 15 years-old Australian footballer, and Japanese superfan Shinya Nakamura, demonstrating the variety of international fans and opportunities that exist for all members of society.

Speaking on the launch of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers programme, AFC Asian 2019 UAE LOC, His Excellency Aref Hamed Al Awani, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee said: “Football is the game of the people and the heart of our tournament flows through the communities. That is why we want to reach out to the people of the UAE and provide an opportunity for the most patriotic fans of each nation to get involved in this unique sporting occasion.”

“We have the chance to do something special, but we need those special individuals who can inspire and help connect others. Just like the players on the pitch, only when we are all truly connected can we make the plays which make history.”

An expanded tournament format for AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will witness the best 24 national teams from Asia, making it the largest AFC Asian Cup to ever be staged and the biggest sporting event hosted in the UAE.

51 matches will be played between 5 January and 1 February 2019, spread across 8 stadiums located in 4 cities across 3 Emirates.

H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani

Al Awani continued: “AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect our nation through the beautiful game. The UAE is home to over 6 million people who are from the nations competing in the tournament. That’s who we want to reach through our Playmakers.”

“By igniting the national pride that lives inside these fans every team can feel they’re playing at home. Every team can have a passionate 12th man.”

Already the positive response to the Playmakers concept has been overwhelming. 20 Embassies and Business Councils representing their communities here in the UAE have confirmed their interest in participating and helping communicate tournament news, offers and developments.

Starting today, fans who want to go beyond being spectators can register interest by contacting [email protected].

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