du La Liga High Performance Centre’s top talents hope to shine in Spain on 21-day scouting camp

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A selection of the du La Liga High Performance Centre’s top talents are in Spain for a 21-day scouting camp, where they will hope to get spotted by La Liga’s top youth teams including Sevilla and Malaga.

Scouts will be present at training sessions and matches on the lookout for talents to invite for trials.

The third annual du LaLiga HPC trip is the largest team of athletes to date with 48 players, ranging from 12 to 17, and representing the top players selected from across the UAE through the duFC platform.

The expansion of the platform this year to the U14 age group is providing younger players with the opportunity to be discovered by Spanish scouts and trained by UEFA pro-certified highly experienced coaches, providing them with a head start for a possible professional football career nationally or internationally.

Abdulwahed Juma, du’s executive vice president, said: “The du La Liga HPC teams consist of some of the top youth footballers in the UAE and we are certain that in the near future we will see some of them playing at professional levels.

“In just three years, du LaLiga HPC teams are now recognised across the UAE as the strongest youth teams and we continue to invest in their development and look forward to following their progress in the coming weeks.”

The intensive programme has been designed by La Liga’s UEFA pro-certified coaches to give these athletes the experience of training and competing at pro-levels, developing their mental and physical strengths.

David Iglesias, head coach of du La Liga HPC and a former Real Madrid youth team coach, added: “We invest year-round in developing the skills of the top youth footballers across the UAE in preparation for this camp, during which we expose them to a grueling training programme and organise competitive matches against some of the top youth teams in La Liga.

“This gives these players the best exposure to professional football. During our third season we are confident with our team’s development and look forward to a successful camp.”

The trip kicked off with the boys training twice a day with their first match against Cadiz scheduled on Saturday, followed by matches against Sevilla, Almeria, Granada and a grand finale against Malaga on August 24.

The du La Liga High Performance Centre is a first of its kind outside of Spain, providing talented footballers with a rigorous year-round training programme and competitive matches, including their participation in and leadership of the UAE FA Academy League.

For more information, visit www.dufc.ae.

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Al Ain out of Arab Club Champions Cup following bizarre away goals rule

Matt Jones 5/08/2018
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Ibrahim Diaky scored for Al Ain but it proved in vain.

Al Ain’s hopes of lifting a second Arab Club Champions Cup ended in bizarre circumstances on Saturday night as they were knocked out of the 2018/19 competition by Algeria’s ES Satif.

In a strange twist, Al Ain won the second leg 1-0 in Zagreb, meaning the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate. But Satif advanced to the last 16 via away goals, even though both the first and second legs were played at Stadion Maksimir in the Croatian capital.

Having lost the opening leg of the newly formatted straight knockout competition 2-1 on Tuesday, Zoran Mamic’s men won the second encounter, although veteran Ibrahim Diaky’s first half header was not enough to salvage their hopes in the pre-season competition, with Hacene Hemmar’s side somehow advancing.

The Boss’ preparations for the tournament had been hounded by off-field drama prior to Tuesday’s opening leg loss.

An eligibility row broke out after a threat was made to withhold all nine UAE call-ups – bar talisman Omar Abdulrahman – from the national team’s external training camp in Austria from August 1-18.

Mamic insisted it was in the “best interest” of UAE football that he had retained a number of international stars for the first-round decider against Satif.

A compromise was then reached which meant utility defender Mohamed Ahmed, centre-back Mohanad Salem and anchorman Ahmed Barman were missing from the squad in Saturday’s clincher.

However, they still dominated the game, raining 11 shots down on goal and enjoying two thirds possession.

The Boss scored the only game through their evergreen midfielder just before the break.

Versatile Japanese defender Tsukasa Shiotani’s wicked free-kick was flicked on by UAE international Amer Abdulrahman and 36-year-old Diaky was free at the back post but still had plenty to do as he stooped to head in, with Satif stopper Moustapha Zeghba getting a hand on the header but unfortunate and unable to prevent it crossing the line.

Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain get their title defence underway against Emirates Club in Ras Al Khaimah on August 31.

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Al Ain suffer defeat in the first-leg of their opening round Arab Club Champions Cup clash

David Cooper 31/07/2018
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Al Ain face a stern task in the second leg

Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain suffered a 2-1 first-leg loss to ES Setif in the first round of their Arab Club Champions Cup campaign on Tuesday.

The Boss faced the Algerian outfit in Croatian capital Zagrab and got off to the perfect start when Ibrahim Diaky slotted home a first-half penalty.

But Al Ain who fielded a strong side were unable to build on their tally and were made to pay as ES Setif equalised before half-time before finding a late winner.

The two sides will meet again in the second leg on Saturday at the same venue – Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb.

Al Ain are one of three UAE clubs in the competition with Al Wasl and Al Jazira kicking off their campaigns later in August. Altogether, 32 teams from 15 nations, apart from Qatar, Yemen and Palestine, are competing.

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