Coaches from some of the world’s finest football academies gathered in Doha on Wednesday ahead of the first games of the 2015 Al Kass International Cup.
With the tournament set to kick-off on Thursday, team officials from clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Arsenal and Real Madrid met at Le Cigale hotel for a final technical meeting ahead of the opening matches.
During the hour-long conference, organisers welcomed this year’s participating teams to Qatar and gave them a full briefing on the competition’s history and regulations.
This year 12 teams will compete in the 10-day tournament, with all games played according to FIFA regulations.
Tournament Director Hamad Al Mannai spoke of his hopes for the fourth edition of the cup.
“Since this competition’s founding in 2012, the quality of football and level of talent on display has improved with each year,” he said.
“Given the exceptional calibre of teams competing this year, I am confident that the standards will rise yet again and further cement this tournament’s status as one of the world’s very best youth football competitions.”
During the conference it was revealed that the stakes will be higher than ever in 2015, with a record cash prize of $75,000 (USD) awarded to the tournament champions, as well as a trophy and gold medals for the victorious side’s players.
Additionally, cash prizes will also be available for standout individual performances, including an award for best goalkeeper and Most Valuable Player for each game.
Matches will be played on the pristine pitches of the Aspire Zone and will be open to the public, who will get the chance to see the next generation of global footballing superstars up close.
On Thursday the action gets underway at 4.30pm with the inaugural game between Arsenal and Vissel Kobe of Japan. This Group A game will be followed at 6.35pm by a mouth-watering contest between last year’s tournament winners Aspire International and German newcomers Schalke 04. Rounding off the day will then be a highly anticipated clash between Italian giants AC Milan and Argentinian outfit River Plate, kicking off at 8.40pm.
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