posted on 30/04/2012: 1031 views
Emiratis Omar Rahmani and Mounir Bourayou and Lebanon's Alexis Khazzaka will represent the Middle East at Nike's The Chance Globe Finals in Barcelona later this year.
The trio were picked by Nike coaches from among nearly 300 youngsters from four countries - including Saudi Arabia and Qatar - to participate in the regional trials at Al Ahli Club in Dubai.
The first session was held two weeks back and 100 were retained for the final weekend which concluded at Rashid Stadium on Saturday.
The Chance is a global football talent search aimed at giving amateur footballers the chance to prove themselves alongside other aspiring players from around the world. The youngsters are part of a group of 100 who will visit Spanish giants Barcelona's famed youth academy La Masia, which has nurtured the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Francesc Fabregas.
In late August, the players will participate in an intense training and conditioning programme and play against each other and will be evaluated by a world-class team of coaches and scouts.
Rahmani said: "The past two days were really tough and I still can't believe that I'm one of the final three. It's a dream come true.”
Bourayou echoed similar sentiments, saying: "It's a dream come true. I will do my best in Barcelona and I hope I'll get noticed.”
The three will be assessed through training drills including Nike SPARQ, a training and conditioning system that helps build better athletes. They will be exposed to world-class facilities, elite coaching, and inputs from nutritionists, psychologists and fitness conditioners.
Khazzaka was confident of being picked, but it was a learning mission for the Lebanese nevertheless.
"When I first came here, I was sure that I would be one of the final three, but the past two days have been really intense and at some point I had my doubts,” he said.
"I'm extremely happy that I will be representing my country in Barcelona and I hope I'll get noticed - that would be the ultimate dream.”
As the ultimate prize, the final 16 will be chosen by Nike from the global finals, who will then participate in a unique training tour as their reward, where they will face some of the best academy teams in world football, including Manchester United, Juventus and a US Youth National Team during a four-week tour. The tour will be held under the watchful eyes of club coaches and scouts. – Sport 360°
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