Al Jazira have looked to bolster their acclaimed football academy by appointing former Liverpool FC academy director James Gow to head its development.
The UAE champions, who already boast one of the most productive youth development programmes in the region, announced the appointment on Monday.
Installed as Jazira’s new academy technical director, Gow arrives in Abu Dhabi having spent 12 years in various roles at Liverpool. He was most recently the club’s international academy director in Australia.
“I am very happy to arrive at the home of the UAE champions,” Gow said. “Al Jazira is renowned across the region for its academy and it’s truly a great honour to lead it going forward.
“I found Al Jazira to be the most suitable step in my career as I was attracted by the strong foundations put in place by the club’s leadership and the ambitious long-term vision and plans to cement itself as a leading example.
“I am excited about the future, and I am confident that my experience will help to develop the academy’s functions across all fronts. The UAE is home to many great talents, and it’s great to see many of them are graduates of Al Jazira’s academy. We look to build on this great success going forward. As a team, we have a big task ahead and a great responsibility to fulfill and I look forward to getting straight to work.”
Famed already for their academy, Jazira’s Arabian Gulf League title-winning squad last season included 17 graduates from the youth ranks. Among those, Abdullah Ramadan, Khalifa Al Hammadi and Mohammed Al Attas have gone on to represent the UAE national team. Ramadan, 23, was one of the standouts in the side that last month advanced to the third and final round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup. Jazira highlighted on Monday that part of the club’s long-term strategy would be to further develop players to play in Europe “in the near future”.
Jazira chief executive officer, Ali Youssef Al Hammadi, said: “We are very happy to welcome James as the new leader of Al Jazira’s academy. Today’s appointment of an internationally experienced academy technical director is a clear testament to the importance we place on continually growing our football academy. Thanks to our leadership’s guidance and great trust in our home-grown talent, we take massive pride in being home to one of the Middle East’s best academies.
“Driven by our investment across all age-groups, we have a very strong structure in place to build on the great title-winning success of last season in the upcoming years. While Al Jazira’s academy functions with an eye on the future of the first team, our long-term plan focuses on developing young talent on both the sporting and personal fronts to represent the club in the biggest global stages.”
Gow began his career at Liverpool in 2008, with his work taking him to China, Singapore and Australia.
Jazira’s sporting director Mads Davidsen said: “Following a rigorous recruitment process, it brings me great pleasure to welcome James to the ever-growing Al Jazira family. We are building an environment which possesses a diversity of cultures and a high-level of experiences from across the world, and James’ proven global track record leading academies for some of the biggest clubs and organisations matches our ambition to do just that.
“James’ appointment comes as part of our plans to develop our local coaching staff and to offer them the best possible guidance from someone who worked at the highest international stage.”