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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Ahead of Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup, Leroy Sane optimistic about future of football in Middle East

This weekend tournament will see 96 teams from around world competing against each other and learning about game

Leroy Sane, centre, has expressed his views on the passion for football in the Middle East. Patrik Stollarz / AFP
Leroy Sane, centre, has expressed his views on the passion for football in the Middle East. Patrik Stollarz / AFP

Ahead of the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup, scheduled to kick off at Zayed Sports City during the weekend, one football star believes there is much to look forward to with regard to football in the Middle East.

Leroy Sane, one of the most promising players seen in a Manchester City shirt these days, has said the fact he and his club teammates received plenty of attention during their warm-weather break in Abu Dhabi last week speaks volumes about the popularity of the game here, especially among the youth.

“It [the emirate] is such a welcoming place to come as a footballer," Sane told the tournament website on Thursday. "There is knowledge and passion for the game and the kids especially love it so much."

And to tap into this energy, the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup has invited 96 teams from around the world - many of them from the Arabian Gulf - who will compete against each other and get to learn about the game on Friday and Saturday.

The 22-year-old German international said tournaments such as this would help quickly develop the game in the Middle East.

“I have massively enjoyed seeing young players and fans in the region on the visit," he added, "and it is all about getting them to play as much as possible with total enjoyment.

“I wish them all the best for the future and the skills and ideas they learn at a young age are so important.”

A total of 1,344 players will take part in the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup, supported by Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture and Etihad Airways.

One of the winning teams will get a trip of a lifetime to experience life at the Etihad Campus in Manchester where the Manchester City FC stars train and play.

The team age groups are under eight, 10, 12 and 14 with fans and families welcome to watch and enjoy the entertainment and attractions from Friday morning.

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