Inaugural Mina Cup gears up for kick-off with local qualifiers in Dubai

New youth tournament, to run April next year, will feature 64 teams across four age categories

Qualifying for the inaugural Mina Cup will begin next month in Dubai, organisers confirmed on Tuesday.

The new tournament, which takes place in the emirate in April and features 64 teams across four age categories, will showcase developing talent from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa, with its remit to become the world’s lead youth football tournament.

The UAE qualifying stage takes place on November 5 and 6 at JA Sports Centre & Shooting Club in Dubai, where teams will compete at Under-12, U14, U16 and U18. Teams from IJF Academy, GoPro, Fursan Hispania and City FC will be represented alongside sides from Barca Academy and Manchester City Football Schools.

Mina Cup founder Chris Brown, long-time Dubai-based football coach, said: "We are delighted to be bringing together some of the world's most promising youth footballers to begin the journey to the Mina Cup, starting with the local qualifiers.

"We believe this tournament can earn its place as the premier global youth football competition, building on the success of the likes of the Milk Cup in Ireland and Gothia Cup in Sweden.

“With the first-class facilities and appetite for the sport in the UAE, it can be a real springboard, giving local teams the chance to go up against international counterparts.”

Official partners for the Mina Cup include Umbro, Lacnor, Oasis Water, Socaloca and Mediclinic, with organisers also working in conjunction with Dubai Sports Council. Meanwhile, match action will be available to supporters and families who are not able to watch games in person through sports video platform Recast. The UK-based platform will display exclusive match highlights, interviews and behind-the-scenes content from the qualifiers.

Brown added: "I am excited to see the players compete during these qualifiers, and for fans all over to get closer to the action and support the up-and-coming stars at their clubs through our partnership with Recast."

Andy Meikle, founder and CEO of Recast, said: “Having grown up in Dubai, I know that, with its second-to-none facilities and culture, it will be the perfect host to a tournament like the Mina Cup, which is all about vibrancy, excitement and showcasing young talent.

"We are delighted to be bringing content from the first local matches directly to fans, families and other players alike through Recast, and in a way which will help grow the competition by monetising this content effectively. The tournament organisers have big plans for the future, and we are pleased to be helping them bring them to life."

Updated: October 19th 2021, 6:41 AM