Youth football games taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre are helping kids take up the sport but also get out of the sun.
Indoor youth football comes to Adnec
ABU DHABI // Indoor football pitches at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) are enabling children to get their fix of the sport without frying in the sweltering summer heat.
The matches are the highlight of Football World, part of the Summer in Abu Dhabi festival, and feature professional coaching from the Ahdaaf Sports Club, a youth football training facility in Dubai.
"The coaching sessions have been fantastic so far, with experienced players and children new to the game taking part," said Mohammed Fouda, one of the three youth coaches at the event.
"We're getting more than 250 players every day and overall the standard is good."
The games are played on either artificial turf or barefoot on sand, with four- or five-a-side games lasting between 10 and seven minutes.
The winners of the weekly competitions will be invited back for a final tournament at the end of the festival. Youngsters can also try out bumper ball, a three-a-side version of the game, in which players wear inflatable plastic suits. The game is described as a cross between football and dodgems.
"Obviously, it gets a little hot for kids to play outside during summer, so our indoor pitches - where children can receive professional coaching in a controlled, safe environment - provide a cool alternative," added Faisal Al Sheikh, the events manager at the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
Daily coaching sessions, that help players improve dribbling and shooting skills, run from 6pm to 8pm. The event runs until July 30.
Entry to Adnec is Dh20 for children aged between three and 12, Dh40 for adults. There is an additional fee of Dh10 per person for entry into the football programme. The event runs from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends. More details are available from www.summerinabudhabi.ae