The United Arab Emirates has been chosen as the venue for the first annual Gulf African Football Tournament (GAF) scheduled to start early next year.
Organised by a Dubai-based event management company, The Different Box, along with the permit of the Dubai Sports Council, GAF is a two-week long tournament that aims to promote potential soccer players in the GCC and African region.
The first edition of GAF is scheduled to take place in Dubai from 10-25 January 2016. Over 480 players from several African and GCC countries will be chosen to take part, following a stringent registration procedure. Registrations have started from the 30th of August 2015.
The tournament is open to men under 19 years old and will consist of 16 teams, with the players representing eight different clubs from the two regions, who will in turn battle it out for the winning title. Private or government football academies are also eligible to participate provided they have ongoing training programs and are able to afford the registration cost.
“Football has become a platform for promoting peace, unity and development,” said Nasreen Ali Bin Darwish, GAF Tournament Director and Cultural and Sports Activities Officer, Public Relations Section, Corporate Marketing and Relations Department at the Dubai Municipality. “It’s a known fact that the popularity of the sport is immense especially in this part of the world.
“Nations all over the world have united because of football, and the GAF tournament, will in its own unique way help to promote peace, racial tolerance, cross fertilization of expertise and economic empowerment between the two continents.
“I am delighted to be associated with GAF and would also encourage investors to support this tournament as it would provide them with an opportunity to widen their developmental services and help to strengthen ties between the two regions,” she added.
According to the Dubai Sports Council, GAF will provide young players with a chance to play outside their home country and showcase their performances to international audiences. On the other hand the tournament will also encourage friendly competition between the two regions and provide football lovers in the UAE with something new to look forward to.
The tournament organisers are expecting a minimum of 5,000 spectators from both the Gulf and African countries who will flock to Dubai to support their clubs, and they are confident that these numbers will grow subsequently.
Quadri Orobiyi, Co-Founder and Executive Director at The Different Box, said: “Our primary objective behind organizing GAF is to provide a launch pad for young players to showcase their talents to key decision makers and sports authorities from the two regions.
“We are expecting this tournament to be a great success that will not only provide two weeks of thrilling competition but it will also add a lasting memory for participants, investors and spectators,” he added.
The first edition of GAF will commence with the Gulf African Football Tournament Business Summit (GAFBS) that will take place on the opening ceremony day. GAFBS will host all the participating clubs, scouts, sport consultants, corporate bodies and guest speakers to network with industry leaders and discuss latest developments in the GCC and African sports sector.