DOHA, Qatar – After what was undoubtedly much nervous anticipation from the players, as well as careful evaluation and deliberation by the coaches, the names of the final 15 footballers selected for the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team have been officially announced.
The select group of 13-year-old boys who make up the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa represent a number of countries across the African continent including Ghana, Gambia, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Mali.
Those selected for the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa 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’s youth team.
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 at http://www.qatarairways.com/footballdreamsafrica.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are extremely excited to see the inaugural Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team becoming a reality. And we are very proud to have our name associated with such a wonderful and life-changing programme, which will see these young boys build on their natural talent, making them into footballers worthy of playing at a professional level. We wish the boys the very best of luck at their match in Barcelona.”
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.
Results of the 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.
Fans can learn more about how they can win a chance to fly to Barcelona to watch the friendly match between Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa Team and FC Barcelona Youth Team by subscribing at http://www.qatarairways.com/footballdreamsafrica or watch http://youtu.be/ICVwfmY1wSA for more information.
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
Notes to Editors:
About Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways celebrated its one year anniversary, in October 2014, of joining the oneworld global alliance. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join this global airline alliance, enabling its passengers to benefit from almost 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures. The award-winning oneworld alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2014 by Skytrax for the second year running. At the 2014 Farnborough Air Show, the airline placed an order for 100 Boeing 777X aircraft, taking Qatar Airways’ orders to more than 335 aircraft with a value of US $70 billion.
For more information, visit our homepage www.qatarairways.com or our sites on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.
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About Aspire Academy
Since opening its doors in 2004, Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence has become one of the foremost national sports academies in the world. Working as part of the Aspire Zone Foundation - an international sport destination - Aspire Academy is at the heart of a sporting revolution currently taking place in Qatar and around the region. The Academy is conceiving, promoting and implementing game-changing excellence in sports training and elite athlete development that is enabling an entire generation of talented, disciplined and committed individuals, both Qataris and internationals to pursue their sports dreams. Together with the other members of the Aspire Zone Foundation (Aspire Logistics and ASPETAR Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital), the Aspire Academy is developing sports champions, promoting healthy lifestyles and galvanizing the sports economy of today, and the future.