With the Emirates Islamic National School League Football knockout stages just two weeks away, youngsters dreaming of glory will have gained some crucial last-minute advice from professional coaches at Bundesliga giants Eintracht Frankfurt.
Die Adler, in Abu Dhabi on the Bundesliga’s mid-season break, held a coaching clinic for a select group of NSL players at their Emirates Palace base Friday, organised by Daman Active Life.
The lucky few, from a myriad of teams competing in the second installment of the Sport360-run tournament, were put through their paces by Frankfurt’s academy staff, including its director and club legend Karl-Heinz Korbel.
Walid Essam, coach of impressive Al Dhafra, who sauntered into the last 16 top of the Abu Dhabi Under-16 group, believes the session will be invaluable for his players as they go in search of the trophy.
He said: “I think it’s been a good session for them. It will give them a new experience and from coaches from other academies. Our next game is approaching so it’s good for them. I told them to make sure everything is useful for them.
“We finished first in the group. I think the sessions could help them win the tournament. It’s a good step towards winning this tournament.
“I told the players to listen carefully to every word the coaches say and focus on every aspect of training, in order to learn more skills and take experience to make us a better team and hopefully that can help us reach the final.”
Dhafra are unbeaten under Essam’s guidance, winning three and drawing one of their group games, and the coach is only interested in one thing now they are at the business end of the tournament.
“We are hoping to win it,” he said.
“We are not here just to participate. Every tournament we enter we play for first place, not just to participate.
Ali Karimi, of Al Ain Academy U-14s, impressed in the January sunshine yesterday, and the 12-year-old is hoping the training will help his side get passed GEMS New Millennium Al Khail and into the quarter-finals on January 21 at The Sevens.
He said: “I found the training good. I learned that when we shoot we need to keep shots low and we were taught some passing tactics and not to keep the ball too much. I was impressed with the standard of coaching.
“I think what we learned today will help us as we go on into the knockout stages. I think it can help us to win the competition.”
Our Own English High School Al Ain goalkeeper Aiyanna Bonnanna towered above every person present at the clinic, including nearly 6ft former Frankfurt centre-back Korbel, and the 16-year-old hopes Our Own can topple Dubai’s GEMS Modern Academy at the end of the month.
“Karl-Heinz Jorbel is a former professional who played a lot of games in the Bundesliga so of course we learnt a lot off him,” he said.
“I think what we learned today can help us in the knockout stages, of course. It’s our first time in the NSL and we finished first in the group, now we will play in the knockouts, we will try our best and will see what will happen.”
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