duFC Concludes Successful Second Season in front of 10,000 supporters at Dubai Mall
- duFC Finals witnesses Clasico Revival with Puyol’s team beating Salgado’s
- Presence of the country’s senior sports and educational authorities attests to the importance of this scouting platform for the country’s football future
- Six-month nationwide tournament with over 7,000 players, 1,060 games, 3,864 goals
Against the deafening cheers of 10,000 spectators at Dubai Mall, du Football Champions crowned the 2016/2017 season winners of the UAE Schools & Streets Cup, the nation’s official youth football Cups.
In recognition of the platform’s importance at a national level, the Finals were attended by H.E. Ibrahim Abdul Malik, General Secretary of the General Authority of Youth & Sports Welfare, Mr. Marwan bin Ghalita, President, UAE Football Association, HE Mohamed Salem Al Dhahery, Executive Director of school operations at Abu Dhabi Educational Council, Mr. Osman Sultan, CEO du, Fernando Sanz, LaLiga General Director, in addition to senior officials from Abu Dhabi & Dubai Sports Council, Ministry of Education, ADEC and KHDA.
The nation’s Final eight teams gave it their all in a day that witnessed the highest level of competition, culminating duFC’s UAE Schools and Street’s Cups 6-months journey that brought together over 7,000 players hailing from the UAE’s four corners with over 3,864 goals and 1,060 games played in the nation’s best venues in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah.
One of the Finals highlights was an excitement-filled exhibition match, recreating the famed Clasico face-off between former FC Barcelona Captain Carles Puyol playing with half the du LaLiga HPC team and former Real Madrid Captain Michel Salgado playing with the other half, resulting in Puyol’s team again beating Salgado’s team 2-0, reminiscent of their last match in LaLiga.
The overwhelming success of duFC’s second season – the only international scouting platform in the Middle East – reflects the partnership with LaLiga, which has already produced one player scouted through duFC for LaLiga’s Malaga FC Club and four others being eyed by other LaLiga clubs. These players, along with other scouted players, are honing their skills at the du LaLiga HPC, where their conditioning by LaLiga coaches has them sitting top of the UAE FA’s official Academy League table.
Speaking after the finals, du CEO Osman Sultan commented, “The overwhelming participation we had this year from all corners of the UAE responded to a cry from all budding footballers for an opportunity to play in a world-class tournament and earn a chance to be scouted. Today is a celebration for all of the UAE and we are proud to work together with football and educational authorities to help make youth dreams come true. At du, we are very proud of this platform which has taken youth football in the UAE to a totally new level. From here in the UAE, we make the champions of tomorrow."
Commenting on his participation in the Finals, LaLiga legend Puyol said, “It's great to be here in the UAE with the next generation of footballers! duFC is a platform that every young football talent dreams of, offering them the opportunity to be scouted – I look forward to the next LaLiga star emerging from the UAE.”
In the UAE Girls Challenge, Go Pro Sports beat Adastra 6-2 in an intense match with a repeated barrage of attempts on goals.
In the UAE Streets Cup, Abu Dhabi’s Al 7osani beat Dubai’s Ultimate XI 5-0, displaying an overpowering presence from the starting whistle.
In the Boys U14, Hatta’s Rashed Bin Saeed School beat Abu Dhabi’s British School Al Khubairat 8-2, becoming the first public school to win the UAE Schools Cup.
And the most exciting match of the day was the Boys U16 Final between Dubai’s Mawakeb Garhoud and Sharjah’s Al Ma’arifa which ended in a 3-3 draw, forcing the teams to go to penalties ending in a victory with a 5-4 final score for Al Mawakeb.
The winning Boys U16 and BU14 team will earn a trip of a lifetime to Spain to watch a FC Barcelona match. The UAE Girls Challenge winner will travel to the UK to watch a Manchester United match.
Full games results are posted on www.dufc.ae