MUSCAT: Six of the world’s most well-known football teams have confirmed their entry in the recently-launched Oman International Youth Cup (OIYC), a tournament that is highly anticipated to spark football competition amongst young footballers. To be held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bousher, the first edition of the tournament will challenge youth under the ages of 15, Under 13, Under 11 and Under 9, starting November 22, with the finals for each group scheduled for November 24.
The event is supported by the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Oman Football Association, Sabco Sports, Al Jarwani Group, Mwasalat and Tanuf, and is under the Tanfeedh sports tourism initiative. Welcoming elite teams from renowned academies, the tournament will encourage inbound tourism by hosting talented young players, their families and coaches, and will allow them to experience the authentic hospitality of the Sultanate while they compete with counterparts from different local and regional clubs.
Some of the high-profile teams from world football visiting Oman include, Arsenal F.C, Manchester City F.C, Genoa, Hellas Verona F.C, Torino F.C, Inter Milan and F.C. Inter 1908. The tournament replicates some of the existing and established formats that take place in Europe and America, in the Northern Hemisphere – but during winter – giving teams the opportunity to experience a fun and challenging event at a new time of year
The initiative, will put Oman firmly on the regional and world map in terms of the way it is developing and challenging its youth. Players will be trained, coached, developed and nurtured every step of the way and professional referees will be supplied for every game with the normal rules of football, as per FIFA, being applied.
Shabib Al Hosni, Oman Football Association, explained the benefits of hosting such a tournament in Oman: “This tournament is a great initiative and has our full support. The chance for the players of Oman to challenge themselves against some of the best teams from around the world as well as some of the top teams in region will be a great way for our teams to improve.”
Chuck Martini, Football Technical Adviser of Al Jarwani Group, said: “To be able to participate in such a tournament will give us the platform to build an annual event of this magnitude. We are hoping to work in line with the OFA to make it part of their annual calendar. It is a fantastic event which I believe will put Oman firmly on the map of world football, especially at grass roots level.”
Ali Al Ajmi, Head of Sports for Sabco Sports, “We are working with the OFA, with MOSA and in partnership with Tanfeedh and Al Jarwani Group. It is a real team effort to deliver what we believe will be an International Standard event”
Tanfeedh has stepped in to support the OIYC as part of a wider sports tourism strategy that aims at implementing a rolling annual calendar of events to increase inbound tourists to the Sultanate, yielding from the huge potential of what Oman can offer. David Graham, Oman Sail CEO and member of the Tanfeedh sports tourism committee said, “The Sport Tourism industry is a resilient sector that is on the rise globally. It brings a range of benefits and in-country value generated through increased numbers of arrivals, hotel occupancy, international media exposure and domestic jobs. We selected grassroot football as one of the sports that can stimulate tourism and boost its contribution to the economy. We look forward to the success of this tournament”.