The recently concluded Hazza Bin Zayed U-17 Tournament was established with the goal to become a platform to discover future football stars, and share knowledge through exchange between leading football academies around the world. The tournament aimed to focus on discovering, growing and nurturing new talents from the pool.
And it certainly did not disappoint. The one week tournament, featured 7 regional and international teams; Al Ahly FC from Egypt, Al Jazira and Al Ain from UAE, Espanyol F.C from Spain, Dinamo Zagreb F.C from Croatia, West Ham United F.C from the UK, Kashiwa Reysol FC from Japan and Italy’s Inter Milan FC.
After a gruelling and competitive six days, UAE’s Al Jazira were crowned champions. The final between Al Jazira F.C and Espanyol F.C showcased a stellar and engaging display of football with Al Jazira edging out the Spanish team by a score line of 5-4 after penalty free kicks.
This tournament is among the many that the nation is planning to host in the coming years to prove their credentials as a potential host for large scale global events.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Khaled Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Al Ain F.C said:
“Football is by far the most important and most followed sport in the country and the region as a whole. That being said, we would like to thank the leadership and the organising committee for allowing such a wonderful tournament to take place on UAE soil. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza, we have been able to enjoy a tournament that I believe will be showcased on a truly global scale. Furthermore, Al Ain along with its three stadiums including the Hazza Bin Zayed stadium which received the award of the best stadium in the world is perfectly positioned to host more global tournaments of this magnitude. I am confident that this tournament will continue to improve year on year.”
Apart from the winners medals, special awards like the ‘Tournament Fair Play Award’ was handed to Kashiwa Reysol F.C, Top Goalkeeper to Edu Beryas from Espanyol F.C, Top Goal Scorer Ali Eid from Al Ain F.C and ‘Most Valuable Player’ to Zayid Abdullah from Al Jazira F.C.
Whilst the tournament focused on the football, there were a number of other related activities that helped add value to the tournament and give it a holistic footballing feel.
This tournament will strengthen UAE’s position as one of the most important local, regional and international notable platforms that directly contribute to the development of football. More importantly, this tournament will attract the relevant experts and specialists from around the world to aid in the development and discovery of young football talent in the UAE.