ABU DHABI 22 August 2017: Winners of the inaugural Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup, Gems Kindergarten Starters, will travel to Manchester in style next week for a once-in-a-life trip that will see the team visit the Etihad Stadium and experience what it’s like to be a Manchester City player.
Gems Kindergarten Starters won the two-day youth football extravaganza, which saw a total of 60 teams from across the Middle East compete for the coveted title of 2017 Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup champions, held at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, said Wam.
The 16-strong Gems Kindergarten Starters team, who are aged between eight and 10 years, will travel alongside City Football School coaching staff to Manchester on Monday where they will have the opportunity to learn, train and play at the City Football Academy, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Etihad Stadium, watch their heroes train up close and enjoy some well-earned down time, taking in the cultural surroundings of Manchester itself.
Ahead of the trip, nine-year-old Hateem said, “It was really very hard for us to reach the final and get the winner’s trophy at the Abu Dhabi Cup but we did it and I am so happy, we even beat the City Football Schools team, which we lost to during our qualifying match.
“The whole team is so excited to go to Manchester and get to train at the Academy and get to see the Etihad Campus for ourselves. I want to be a professional football player when I grow up so this trip is really going to push me to achieve my goals. I don’t think I will sleep the night before we go!”
Hateem’s father Faruq, who will be accompanying the team on the trip, added, “At the Abu Dhabi Cup, the team played really well and were against some really tough competition. It was quite unbelievable actually as most of the teams they were up against were academy teams with regular training sessions and intense coaching, the GEMS Kindergarten Starters are a school team and the children only had several training sessions together ahead of the competition. They demonstrated such great team work throughout the whole weekend.
“When the team made it to the final and won the Abu Dhabi Cup, we were all overjoyed. There are no words to describe how much this means to both the players and also their parents, most of the children have never experienced being overseas. We are all so excited for them to share this once-in-a-life time experience that I am sure will create unforgettable memories that they will carry with them forever.”
Speaking about the importance of trips like these, Simon Hewitt, Project Manager at City Football, explained, “Trips like these are extremely important to the development of football in this country; they allows the teams to bond, grow and develop, not only in term of their footballing skills but also build on their interpersonal skills which are all part of being a great player.
“We have an action-packed schedule for the Abu Dhabi Cup winners and we are looking forward to hosting them at the Etihad Campus. During their time in Manchester, the team will really get to experience what it is like to be a City player and learn the City way.”
City Football Schools, open to boys and girls aged between the ages of three and 18, are based across three venues in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace, Zayed Sports City and New York University Abu Dhabi.
Those signing up to City Football School’s new season training, which launches on 10th September, are also in with a chance to win a trip to Manchester by registering for a full season before the start of the new term. The trip includes flights to Manchester, accommodation and tickets to watch an English Premier League match.
By Rajive Singh