Football: Grassroot-level tournament from Nov 22-24

A file photo of an age-group football tournament, which aims to develop talent at grassroot-level 

A grassroot-level football tournament will be held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) in Muscat with the hosting of the inaugural Oman International Youth Cup (OIYC) from November 22-24.

Featuring four age-group categories (U9, U11, U13, U15), the OIYC will witness not only players from six top European club academies, but it will also be a platform where Omani kids could showcase their potential.

The six academies that have confirmed entry include two from English Premier League sides - Arsenal and Manchester City - and four from Italian League - Genoa, Hellas Verona,Torino and Inter Milan.

According to Ali al Ajmi, Sabco Sports head of marketing, “The aim of the OIYC is to have 48 teams take part in different age-groups. We are going to have couple of teams each from the European academies while a few more academies are expected from the GCC nations.

“As for Oman, there will be a Regional Cup across the sultanate in all the categories. The winners will get a direct entry into the OIYC.”

Besides the Regional Cup, there is an existing league for academies in Oman, which may not conclude by November. However, the winner will feature in next edition. Ajmi said that OIYC is open to all Oman-based academies and teams can register against a fee.

Group

L-R: Ali al Ajmi, Shabib al Hosni and Chuck Martini at a press conference on Monday

At a press conference held at the SQSC on Monday, Shabib al Hosni, the Oman Football Association (OFA) assistant general secretary,  said, “This tournament is a great initiative. To get a chance for players of Oman to compete against some of the best academies from around the world at home will be a great way for our teams to improve.”

Chuck Martini, football technical adviser of Al Jarwani Group, said, “We are hoping to work with the OFA to make it part of its annual calendar.”

The OIYC is part of the government’s Tanfeedh sports tourism initiative and is supported by the Ministry of Sports Affairs, OFA, Sabco Sports, Al Jarwani Group, Mwasalat and Tanuf.

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