Season 4 of du Football Champions, the international scouting platform in partnership with LaLiga, officially launched today with the unveiling of du Talents, the Middle East’s first sports tech scouting platform.
Promoted by du – from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, du Football Champions is a nationwide initiative featuring the UAE’s official schools Cup and Streets Cup and is the only international youth football scouting platform.
The announcement was made at a press conference at GITEX, headed by Osman Sultan, CEO, EITC, Jose Maria Arrabal, Director, LaLiga Middle East, Hussein Murad, CEO of Inspiratus, and in the presence of football legends Zuhair Saeed Bakheet-Bilal, Ahmed Hossam “Mido” and Hazem Emam, Egypt national team former captain.
The launch of du Talents will expand scouting to all talents in the UAE and extend the reach of du Football Champions, which has attracted over 21,500 players in its first three years, all hoping for a chance to be selected for du La Liga High Performance Centre, their first step towards football stardom.
Speaking at the press conference, Osman Sultan, EITC CEO said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of du Talents today, aligned with our commitment to produce tomorrow’s champions today. This launh also reflects our leadership in harnessing technology and innovation to develop and connect talent in the digital age with this disruptive digital platform. du Talents also enables us to extend the highly successful duFC scouting platform we launched 4 years ago, in partnership with LaLiga, into an integrated, comprehensive and sustainable talent ecosystem. These platforms are integral parts of du Sports, which we established to create a distinctive sporting community of fans and talent online and offline across the UAE.”
The first of its kind in the Middle East, du Talents is a digital scouting platform for football talent of all ages, enabling young football players to upload their profiles and highlights of their skills and communicate directly with coaches, which increases their exposure and opportunities for scouting.
Fernando Sanz, Director General LaLiga Middle East and North Africa, commented on the new season and expansion of the scouting platform: “We are proud to partner on du Football Champions scouting platform, which is providing youth with unprecedented opportunities to be discovered and to pursue football careers. This is a unique platform, which has already borne fruit with 125 elite players selected into du LaLiga High Performance Centre, our elite development program, 19 of whom have had trials with LaLiga clubs in Spain. With the launch of du Talents, we will be on the lookout for many more talents to be discovered in the UAE and the region.”
Ahmed Hossam “Mido”, former Celta Vigo player, said: “du Football Champions and du Talents are an amazing opportunity for any young talented football player. Being able to play with a LaLiga club is an unforgettable experience and I encourage you all to participate in the tournament and sign up for du Talents and du Sports. The exposure it provides and LaLiga’s development centre are a huge advantage to any player wanting to pursue a football career.”
With the new decree, allowing more expatriates to compete in official UAE sports competitions, local clubs have been encouraged to take action. Recognizing the superior talent of du LaLiga High Performance Centre players, several local clubs have already recruited a number of players to join them.
Speaking on this and the impact of du Football Champions and du Talents on the level of the game in the UAE, Emirati football legend Zuhair Saeed Bakheet-Bilal, “du’s commitment and LaLiga’s expertise have brought professional football development to a new level in the country in a short period of time. This will benefit the UAE male and female football game a lot, especially with our ambitions to compete increasingly at international levels.”
Hazem Emam, former Egypt national team captain, said: “I encourage all talented youth footballers to go after their dream for professional stardom. Having the opportunity to be scouted through the tournament and online at the beginning of my journey as a professional footballer would have given me a big head start. Players can now be thousands of miles away from scouts and still have an opportunity to shine and get the break they need on the field.”
In Season 2018-2019, du Football Champions will witness the expansion of the physical scouting platform as well, with the opening of a High Performance Centre in Abu Dhabi as well as extending the age groups to 4 and introducing scouting for girls in Dubai.
Hussein Murad, CEO of Inspiratus said, “du Football Champions has become the focal point on the calendar of youth football in the UAE. We’ve seen over 21 thousand players since our very first kickoff in 2015 and with du Talents, we will be reaching tens of thousands more, giving them the same opportunity. Taking scouting to a digital platform is the natural progression of our scouting program and we’re very excited to launch it here at GITEX with du, LaLiga and football legends.”
The du Football Champions is a nationwide initiative featuring the UAE’s official schools Cup and Streets Cup and is the only international youth football scouting platform. Conducted in partnership with Ministry of Education, Dubai Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, du Football Champions aims to achieve sustainable human development through the discovery of promising talents, who will raise the bar on sports excellence at local and national teams as they become the next generation of professional male and female footballers.
Played to world-class standards, the cups will be conducted at a national level and played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates. The Championship is open to boys and girls 9-17 and will pave the way for youth to cultivate their sporting talents and aptitudes, by enabling them to participate either through their school, or together with their friends.