MFA unbeaten at ‘Little World Cup’
April 17, 2019 | 5:55 PM
by Times News Service
Muscat Football Academy are representing the Sultanate at the 2019 Mundialito.

Muscat: Oman’s representatives at one of youth football’s biggest tournaments will go into their most crucial game with optimism, after enjoying an unbeaten start to the competition.

Muscat Football Academy are representing the Sultanate at the 2019 Mundialito – Spanish for ‘little World Cup’, and are yet to lose a game in Catalonia, where this year’s tournament is being held.

The under-12s are representing MFA at this year’s event, and Head Coach Chuck Martini is looking forward to facing Romanian side Steaua Bucharest in their upcoming game. The Eastern European club’s senior side have been regulars in previous versions of the Champions League and Europa League.

“It’s been a great start for MFA. We are undefeated so far in the tournament,” said the former Morocco international goalkeeper. “We have played out three draws, and today, we will play our fourth and fifth games. We will play Steaua Bucharest, and the team has been in a good group where we sit third at the moment. I think our level is as good as anyone else’s here. The tournament has some 460 teams I believe this year, so this is one of the biggest Mundialitos we have been to.

“There are six teams in each group in our age category, there are 42 teams in our age group, so this is one of the biggest tournaments we have been to. We have started really, really well. We drew 2-2 against a local team from Madrid,” recalled Martini.

“We played our second game against Global Premier Soccer who are from the United States, and drew 1-1, and then we played against Ruidoms who are a second division side here in Spain. We drew that game 1-1 as well. Our toughest test is against Steaua Bucharest who are on top of the group, and I am quietly confident that we will put on a good showing against them.”

Martini also shared with Times of Oman some of the teams that were playing at this year’s Mundialito.

“The usual suspects are all here: Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Inter Milan, Fenebahce, Galatasaray, Levante, the list can go on and on and on,” he explained. “There is a whole host of professional clubs here. We have teams from Japan, as well as some from Morocco. But all in all, it’s been a case of so far so good, and it’s a job that is above satisfaction at the moment.”

He added: “This is the first time that we have come here and managed to not be beaten in our opening three games, so this is very good for the academy. Let us hope that we bring more success in terms of slaying the big teams.”

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