Game on for duFC stars
Talent scouting and youth tournament back for season two
T he du Football Champions has (duFC) announced its second season after an overwhelming first year in the UAE.
Conducted in collaboration with La Liga and some of Europe’s best youth coaches and talent hunters, duFC is the only talent-scouting programme for the Spanish league in the Middle East.
“We are very happy with the results and in the first season itself one of the players got a trial with the youth team of Malaga and that is a very big thing,” said Fernando Sanz, La Liga’s general director in the MENA region.
The programme is headed by former Real Madrid and Spain star Michel Salgado, who has been impressed with the raw talent in the region.
He said: “We started slowly but now we know we are doing things the right way.
“There is a lot of rough talent in this region, they are like rough diamonds and we have to bring them in to the academy while keeping in mind that they have their natural game and make them ready for professional football.”
Salgado also commented on the programme’s aim to make the youngsters better human beings while instilling values like teamwork and how to handle pressure and failure. However, Salgado agreed that the biggest challenge for the programme was to find world-class opposition and competition for the players at the High Performance Centre in Dubai. He said: “The challenge is to find the competition for these guys, even the youth teams in Spain and around the world are finding this difficult. “They may be good within their region and country but to improve more they must play against the best. “International tournaments are the only way and that’s something we are looking into as well.” The duFC Elite Team is a group of the best players from all the participating teams in the competition and they train at the du High Performance Centre under Rafael Gil, former Malaga coach and assistant coach of the Saudi National team.
Gil said: “We have a comprehensive approach to the process, because these kids are young. From the hours of sleep, type of food and training, for every individual we have separate plans for every player.”
Salgado hailed the efforts by parents and commended them for being a part of their child’s dream.
He said: “The first and biggest support is always from home. It is very important that the parents understand what the kids want and not over support them and leave it to the coaches when it comes to football.”