Videographers: Taabish Basaria, Ahsan Mawji. Editor: Farhan Dhanani. Producer: Safira Halani

Elite football academy trains future athletes at the Jubilee Games
Imran Saleh
27 July 2016
  • Kids at the Jubilee Games have been picking up new football (soccer) skills at the FCBEscola football camp being held at the Jubilee Games.

    Over 200 participants aged 8 – 17 have been learning and practicing the sport under the tutelage of trainers from the flagship academy of the FC Barcelona professional football club.

    “The Jubilee Games Organizing Committee wanted to bring in world-class development platforms and other external organisations to work with the Ismaili youth,” said Alikhan Alibhai, one of the camp’s organisers.

    The onsite camp was developed as a partnership between FCBEscola and the Jubilee Games. Each participant receives 90 minutes of practice each day during the five-day camp, and their own FC Barcelona jersey.

    The camp allows attendees who are younger than the 18-year old minimum age for competing at the Jubilee Games to still participate as athletes in Dubai. Alibhai explained that the initial discussions about including such a programme for the youth came about after the 2008 Golden Jubilee Games.

    Mohsin Karani, 16, from Yavatmal, India, says that the camp has improved his game mentally – especially the focus on passing and learning how to maintain possession during the game. Karani plays on his school team in India and recently enrolled at the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad.

    He was unable to attend the school’s football camp, so he was excited for the opportunity to work on his skills during the summer.

    One parent from Atlanta, Fareed Ajani, enrolled both his sons in the camp — 12-year-old Zidan, and 9-year-old Aydin.

    “My boys have been excited the moment I signed them up months ago,” Ajani says. “Every night they go to bed early so they can wake up and play soccer and interact with other participants from around the world.”