Cash prizes up for grabs at ASA five-a-side tournament

Denzil Pinto 14/01/2014
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The fight is on: Registration for the event closes on Sunday, January 19.

Men and women are being encouraged to take part in a fun five-a-side football tournament, hosted by Active Sports Academy on January 24.

It’s the format that helped improve the skills of England striker Wayne Rooney, and if the Manchester United player enjoyed playing it then there’s no reason why you can’t – especially as there are cash prizes on offer.

DP World Soccer Stadium in Jebel Ali Port, Dubai, will be the venue for the tournament that begins at 09:00.

Consisting of men’s and women’s categories, the event will include a group stage followed by a knock-out phase. The number of teams to advance to the knock-out stage will depend on the number of sides taking part.

Registration for the event closes on Sunday, January 19. There is a maximum limit of nine squad players per team. Those who wish to enter must fill in the entry form which can be found on www.activeuae.com, and return it to [email protected]

The cost of entering a team for men and women is Dh1,000 but Michael Smith, tournament organiser, said the competition is worthwhile and open to everyone: “The tournament is open to all types of teams. It can be a group of friends but people should come to the venue as a team.

“It’s a tournament for the locals. There are other teams coming from different countries. We want to get the local community active which is the main purpose of the tournament. The tournament is just not open to teams who play every week. It can be to a group of people who have a kick-around at the park.”

If you have set your eyes on the winning prize then the men’s champions will pick up Dh3,000 while the runners-up will receive Dh1,000.In the women’s category, the triumphant side will go home richer by Dh1,000.

As the name suggests each side comprises five players – one goalkeeper and four outfield players. Each half will consist of seven minutes and unlimited substitutions can be made during the game as soon as the ball is out of play.

Unlike the traditional five-a-side game, heading the ball is allowed but if you are a striker you’ll be pleased to know there are no off-side rules meaning more opportunities to score goals.

During the group phase, match winners will receive three points, while both teams will receive one point if the game ends in a draw. The losers will receive no points. In the knock-out, if the match finishes in a draw after full-time, a penalty shoot-out will take place to determine who will go through.

The grass pitches that will be used are much smaller than a standard-size pitch. You may think a smaller pitch would mean less running around, but that’s not the case at all.

Nevertheless, the results are positive, as although you may be knackered after a few matches (or even the first few minutes of the game), the health and social factors are beneficial.

For those who are not taking part in the tournament, there is something for everyone to enjoy. There will be a BBQ where chefs will be cooking delicious fares that will whet your appetite.

There is also a ‘soccer zone’ where all players and fans can practice their skills in fun activities while the matches are taking place.

“If families come then this will act as entertainment for them," Smith added. "Everyone can come and have a good time. Players can join while they’re waiting for their next match."

What: Five-a-side football tournament

When: January 24, starts at 09:00

Where: DP World Soccer Stadium in Jebel Ali Port in Dubai

Contact: Visit www.activeuae.com for the registration form. Email the form to [email protected] by Sunday, January 19. Also, call 055 124 7722.

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Dubai Schools Cup more to offer than just trip to Man Utd

Kenny Laurie 12/01/2014
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Great start: Leen Hajj (No11) of Winchester School during the opening day of the DSFC.

Over 100 teams from 50 schools took to the field yesterday as the first ever Dubai Schools Football Cup (DSFC) made a hugely successful start.

With a headline prize of a trip to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford there is sure to be a competitive edge over the next eight weeks of the tournament as 1,800 children battle it out across a variety of age groups.

And with the girls and boys playing alongside one another, there was certainly some friendly rivalry between the two groups on the pitches at Dubai Sports City.

Winchester School brought teams of boys and girls, and each side supports each other as their own. Leen Hajj, a star player for Winchester’s girl’s team, has been a football fan all of her life and as a United supporter and dreams of a trip to England, while also hoping to prove a point or two to her male counterparts.

“I have an older brother and he has always said that girls will never be as good as boys at football. I like to think I can show that anyone can be better than anyone.

“I want to show that girl or boy, gender doesn’t really matter.”

And she and her team-mates are glad of the opportunity to prove just how good they are – especially with the added bonus of making a few boys eat their words.

“It pushes us,” she added. “There are boys who say ‘you are good, but you’ll never be as good as any of us here’. So we are trying to show that we are as good as they are.

“There are places where girls can’t play a sport, so although I play because I enjoy it, I also want to show that football isn’t just a sport for boys.”

The DSFC wants to promote principles of sportsmanship and integrity as well as encouraging children to improve as sportsmen and women. And the show of support within schools for their teams was something extremely encouraging.

Mutza Hussain, a winger for Winchester boys, was in the stands at Dubai Sports City to cheer on his female counterparts, but couldn’t resist a little joke.

“We are cheering them on, we all want to be famous,” he said. “Of course, having a bit of a joke is necessary, it’s fun because they make silly decisions sometimes so we make fun – but we are still here to support them.”

DSFC organisers are keen to point out that the tournament is about making sure that children enjoy the beautiful game and learn life lessons like teamwork and application.

Tamara Mrad, 14, is a student at Lycée Francais International Georges Pompidou and she said: “Football has always been my thing and although I prefer Liverpool to Manchester United we want to do better than the boys and get to Manchester.

“That’s because they sometimes try to make fun – the place to show them is out on the pitch.”

For full results and league tables from the Dubai Schools Football Cup please visit www.dubaischoolsfc.com.

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Man Utd trip the big prize on offer at Dubai Schools Cup

Jon Turner 9/01/2014
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Proud Announcement: The men behind the new Dubai Schools Football Cup

The inaugural Dubai Schools Football Cup (DSFC) will get underway on Saturday as 1,800 children from 50 schools compete to win the trip of a lifetime to Manchester United.

The official announcement of the eight-week tournament, which will be held at the Dubai Sports City Football Academy, was made on Wednesday at the Dubai Sports Council.

There will be two age categories for both boys and girls – under-10 and u-12 for the boys, and u-16 and u-13 for the girls.

In total, over 100 teams will compete for the big prize, with the winners of each category chosen to make the journey to watch Manchester United in action at their iconic Old Trafford stadium, thanks to Cup sponsor Chevrolet.

Winners will also participate in a full-day football training clinic provided by fellow Cup sponsor Emirates NBD and delivered by Manchester United coaches.

While a trip to see the Premier League champions is an incredible prize for the eventual winners, the DSFC aims for all participants to benefit greatly from the event.

“This tournament is not only about trying to discover potential professional footballers, but trying to bring some key values to the kids,” Dubai Sports City Football Academy Director – and Real Madrid legend – Michel Salgado explained.

“Each week at my Academy, we stress how important sport is for education and in helping to develop kids for later life. Teamwork, leadership, integrity; these are values that football can offer that are not just valid in sport but for life in general.”

Salgado, who won four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during his 10-year Madrid career, also revealed that scholarships to the Football Academy will be given to a handful of players.

“All of the coaches and I will be overseeing the games during the Cup. It will not just be about the best players of the tournament – we are looking out for kids who have something we can work with,” he added.

“We will give these kids scholarships so they can work with us for free and we will provide them the best coaching they can possibly have.”

The DSFC will incorporate children from various schools, cultures and nationalities, and will be completely free for all teams, thanks to sponsors Emirates NBD and Chevrolet.

Hussein Murad, CEO of tournament oragnisers Inspirator expressed his gratitude: “Our hope for the DSFC is to get kids from all backgrounds together and engaging in their shared love of football while developing a healthy lifestyle. “Partnering with the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Educational Zone and Dubai Sports City to make this a reality has been tremendous.

“It was necessary for the DSFC 2014 to be free, allowing students from all curricula and backgrounds the opportunity participate in the tournament, and we thank our main sponsors for their generous contribution, which helped make this possible.”

For more information on the Dubai Schools Football Cup, visit: http://www.dubaischoolsfc.com

Or on facebook at: facebook.com/DubaiSchoolsFC

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