Muscat: It will be a stage where the young talent will perform and try to outshine each other. Nearly 50 football teams with players from the age of nine to 17 years will feature in the Muscat International Unity Youth Cup, to be held in Muscat from October 12-14.
The tournament, jointly organised by Muscat Football Academy (MFA) and Premier Sports, in cooperation with Oman Football Association (OFA), is expected to attract all the leading private football academies from the region with confirmation already received from academies based in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.
At a press conference held at Grand Hormuz on Wednesday, Chuck Martini, MFA owner, said: “This would be a platform for youngsters to showcase their talent. We are delighted to get the backing of the Oman Football Association for the first time. The three-day event will be held at two venues with the first two days action to be held at Cheltenham Muscat and the grand finale concluding with a full-day affair at the majestic Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
“It will be a dream come true for a lot of the youngsters to play and display their skills at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. It is the venue where our national team heroes and many top international teams have played. To play at the same venue on the final day will be something special.”
The Unity Youth Cup will bring together young players from neighbouring countries including teams from Manchester City, PSG, Barcelona, Evolution and Juventus academies.
The tournament will feature five categories – under-9, under-11, under-13, under-15 and under-17.
Except for the under-17 and under-15 competitions, which will be played in 11-a-side and nine-a-side formats respectively, the other categories will be eight-a-side format.
This Unity Youth Cup is part of the grassroots development programme under the world football governing body, FIFA, and will bring out the best of talent in Oman, who will get an opportunity to compete against leading academies from the region.
Martini said: “The youth tournament will bring in hundreds of players and their parents from the neighbouring countries and we are committed to make it a top-class event.”
He added: “All the participating teams will be put up in one hotel, Grand Hormuz, and we are in talks with Mwasalat for transportation of teams to the venues.”
Martini said: “Premier Sports is a company I have formed, and it has got the nod to conduct international youth tournaments from OFA and the Ministry of Tourism.
He added: “Majority of the private football academies in Oman have expressed interest to compete in this tournament. We have not invited the Oman national U17 team as this event is restricted to private sector and private football academies.”
The top-three teams in each category will be awarded besides individual awards to best player in each category, best goalkeeper and top goal-scorer.
Martini said he hoped that the Unity Youth Cup would be an annual affair and thanked OFA general secretary Mohammed al Yahmadi and OFA technical director Sghaier Zouita for their support.