Al Ain set to welcome West Ham and Inter Milan as part of Under 17 Hazza bin Zayed International tournament

The inaugural Hazza bin Zayed International Football Tournament for Under 17 begins on Thursday in Al Ain with the hosts taking on a collection of clubs from around the world. John McAuley takes a look at who the home team will face.
The Hazza bin Zayed Stadium has hosted a range of world-class football events. Francois Nel / Getty
The Hazza bin Zayed Stadium has hosted a range of world-class football events. Francois Nel / Getty

The inaugural Hazza bin Zayed International Football Tournament for Under 17 teams begins on Thursday in Al Ain with the hosts taking on a collection of clubs from around the world. John McAuley takes a look at who the home team will face.

Global feel

Organised under the patronage of Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, the event features age-group sides from eight prominent clubs: Al Ain, Inter Milan (Italy), Espanyol (Spain), West Ham United (England), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Al Ahly (Egypt), Club Africain (Tunisia) and Kashiwa Reysol (Japan).

When and where

The six-day event begins tomorrow with matches taking place at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, home to Al Ain’s senior side, and the Khalifa International Stadium. A fan festival runs in conjunction with the tournament at the Hazza bin Zayed venue on Friday and Saturday.

Group format

At the official draw last week, the eight teams were split into two groups. Group A features Al Ain, West Ham, Espanyol and Kashiwa Reysol. Group B comprises Inter Milan, Dinamo Zagreb, Al Ahly and Club Africain. Al Ain and Espanyol kick off the tournament tomorrow. The top two sides in each group advance to the semi-finals.

Coaching class

In association with the tournament, the World Football Academy will run coaching clinics on Monday and Tuesday. The WFA is the world’s leading independent education institute for coaches, coaching staff and players. Raymond Verheijen, the renowned coach who has worked with Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City, and with the Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and Argentina national teams, heads the two-day clinic.

Event mandate

“Youth is the key focus for global clubs and coaches worldwide and, as such, the tournament will aim to focus on discovering, growing and nurturing new talents from the pool,” Waleed Al Hosani, an organising committee member, said.

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Published: March 25, 2015 04:00 AM

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