The final 15 footballers were finally selected for the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa project. The project which was announced earlier in the year, was to bring together the continent’s best talents for an opportunity to prove their potential in front of bunch of evaluators.
The select group of 13-year-old boys who make up the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team, represents a number of countries across Africa, including Ghana, Gambia, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Mali.
Those selected the team will now enter a five-year programme at the Aspire Academy in Senegal, where they will train, compete, study and learn to manage their lives and careers successfully, with the goal of one day playing for a professional club or their respective national teams.
The players, who have been playing together for almost one month since coming together as a team in March, will have an excellent opportunity to show off their skills when they travel to Barcelona this May to play a friendly match against the FC Barcelona Under-15 team.
Aspire Academy Director General Ivan Bravo said:
“The match in Barcelona is going to be a great experience for the selected players and we are very thankful that Qatar Airways joined us in this initiative. Breaking into the world of professional football demands a lot of hard work. It is opportunities like this trip to Spain that might motivate the young players to put in even more effort in order to reach their goal of becoming professional football players.”
Launched in 2007, Aspire Football Dreams gives young football players from developing countries the opportunity to reach the heights of international football through training and development at their Academy located in Senegal. Each year, the programme selects a number of 13-year-old boys who go through a rigorous assessment process in the hopes of being selected to attend the Academy. Having already tested two million football players since the beginning of the programme eight years ago, Aspire Football Dreams is the largest-ever talent search in football.
This is the first year that Qatar Airways has partnered with the Aspire Academy Aspire Football Dreams programme in Africa. Over the last year, Aspire Football Dreams coaches, staff and more than 4,000 volunteers assessed 400,000 13-year-old football players, at approximately 650 football fields in 14 countries. Of those, 35 boys were selected to fly to Senegal, home of the Aspire Football Dreams Academy, for their final assessment, which included rigorous training and matches against Spanish youth team RCD Espanyol, before the final selection was made.
The Final Fifteen:
Barthelemy Iradukunda – Burundi
Abdel Nassere Mfouatah – Cameroon
Jumai Jallow – Gambia
Momodou Jallow – Gambia
Isaac Nuhu – Ghana
Leslie Adeniah – Ghana
Isaac Annan – Ghana
Ebenezer Gyetuah – Ghana
Appiah Kubi – Ghana
Salim Diaby – Ivory Coast
Dao Ismael Stephane Ouattara – Ivory Coast
Sibiry Keita – Mali
Seybou Senou – Mali
Nasry Daudi Azizi – Tanzania
Shafic Ssebyala – Uganda
Results of past Aspire Football Dreams programme have already been made evident with a number of graduating students being signed to professional teams in Europe, including Diawandou Diagne, who signed with FC Barcelona B team last July, and Ibrahim Diallo from Mali who signed with, Valencia CF B Team in Spain last January.
There is a strong possibility that we might see one of these 15 youngsters feature in the top leagues.
Those who wish to find out more about the 15 selected talented footballers who make up the inaugural Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team, can learn more here.
Check out the video below to get an idea of what the footballers go through: