Football: Al Kass International Cup from January 13

 31 Dec 2013 - 10:37


A file picture of last year’s Al Kass International Cup. Brazil’s Fluminense defeated PSG to win last year’s tournament.

Doha:  The third annual Al Kass International Cup will see twelve junior teams from some of the world’s most prestigious football clubs descend on the outdoor pitches at Aspire Academy in Doha in the New Year. 
The teams will battle it out for prize money worth a total of $248,000.
From January 13 to 23, Al Kass will once again join forces with Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for a 10-day tournament aimed at contributing to the development of a proud footballing nation.
“By regularly hosting a range of elite sporting events, including the Al Kass International Cup, the country has successfully positioned itself as one of the sporting capitals of the world,” said  Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmad Al Thani, President of   Qatar Football Association. 
“The tournament seeks to raise the level of competition within the country and provide an exciting experience for the visiting players.  Additionally, it not only fulfils QFA’s own vision of becoming a leading football entity, but furthers Qatar’s Nation Vision 2030 by helping to raise its profile on the international stage.”
Under-16 teams from Aspire International and Aspire Qatar will once more face their International counterparts Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Brazil’s Fluminense. Newcomers Manchester City, FC Porto, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Auxerre, Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol, and Chicago Fire will complete the line-up. This year also marks the first time a team from the United States of America will compete.  
The participating teams will be divided into four groups of three, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals to compete for the top prize of $75,000.  With prizes of up to $3,000 for the most valuable player and best goalkeeper of the tournament also up for grabs, previous tournaments have hosted emerging stars such as Adrien Rabiot-Provost. The talented French footballer, who plays as a midfielder for PSG, impressed spectators and competitors alike at last year’s tournament.
The 2012 Al Kass International Cup also saw participation from then junior player, Kingsley Coman who went onto become the youngest player in PSG’s history that same year.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome the youths of the footballing world back to Doha for this international club tournament as we as a nation gear up to host the FIFA World Cup 2022,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Qatar 2022 Organising Committee. 
“We have already seen players from previous Al Kass tournaments represent their country internationally, so there is a strong possibility that some of this year’s participants will be back for the World Cup in 2022.”
The 2013 Al Kass International Cup saw Brazil’s Fluminense take the Al Kass trophy from 2012 champions PSG after having beat them on penalties in a dramatic final.
With Qatar keen to invest in the future of football, Al Kass International Cup is a unique international showcase of junior talent from some of the most prestigious clubs in the football world.
The Peninsula