DOHA: A 12-day football extravaganza featuring some of the world’s most famous clubs gets under way at Aspire Zone today as the ninth Al Kass International Cup begins.
Team officials and tournament organisers convened at the Torch Doha Hotel in Aspire Zone on Wednesday, where the Cup’s format, rules and regulations were outlined.
The competition, which takes place on pitches four and five at Aspire’s state-of-the-art facility, will see 12 Under 16 teams bidding for glory, with Scottish outfit Glasgow Rangers seeking to retain the trophy they won in impressive style last year.
The Scots, inspired by youth internationals Kai Kennedy and Nathan Young-Coombes, edged out Roma on penalties to lift the trophy 12 months ago, but they will have to be at their best to repeat that success.
Three-time winners Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) return to Doha in determined mood, after failing to perform to their usual standards last year, but much interest will focus on Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Real won this trophy in 2017, while Barcelona make their third appearance in the competition and will look to add their name to an impressive roll of honour.
The competition provides a perfect opportunity to see some of the world’s best young talent in action, whether in person (entry is free of charge), on TV or online.
Official tournament sponsors Al Kass TV will broadcast all matches live, with both Arabic and English commentary. Live streaming of all the matches will also be available on http://internationalcup.alkass.net.
Hopes of a local victory rest with hosts Aspire Academy, and the home youngsters will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Akram Afif, who appeared in this tournament earlier in his career before going on to taste success with Al Sadd, as well as playing a starring role as Qatar lifted the Asian Cup for the first time in 2019.