ESG Football Academy U16 Girls from Oman participated in the JPL GCC Cup for the first time and returned runners up
It is the first time that an academy from Muscat has taken a girls team to participate in an international soccer tournament that turned out to be a fantastic experience for the team members – all under-16 footballers with big dreams set before themselves.
Competing against seven other teams from across the GCC, the Enhance Global Sports (ESG) Football Academy U16 girls team played a total of 16 games, which proved to be a great spectacle for girl’s football in the Arabian Gulf.
After battling their way through the group stages, the ESG team eventually had to settle for the runners-up position in the final of the Cup against strong competitors from Saudi Arabia who won every game over the weekend, apart from drawing with ESG in the group stages.
ESG coach, Georgina said, “It has been a gruelling weekend but such a fantastic experience for the girls. The bond and team spirit they displayed throughout was definitely a big factor in them progressing through the tournament.
“Along with the quality football they played, at times, they showed immense character and determination. The girls exceeded everyone’s expectations and I’m absolutely delighted for all of them. They learned so much over the weekend and I’m confident that they will definitely improve as a team. They’re on a high right now and already looking forward to the next tournament in Abu Dhabi.”
Preparation for the tournament had begun in early September with the team members attending two sessions per week. Training sessions were both, technical and tactical, in order to get them in the best possible shape for the tournament.
The ESG Football Academy Elite Girls U16 team included Maya Sultan (Captain), Aisha al Yafaey, Vibha Ramchandrappa, Shahla al Zadjali, Lehini Nair, Bayda Macki, Laila al Jaadi, Heidi Smith, Tia Sampat, Rita Malakhova, Betsy Simpson, and Tessneme al Huthaili.
Captain Maya Sultan said, “It was tough but a great experience which all of the girls enjoyed and learned so much from. We have a very good team bond which helped us through this tough tournament. All are excited and can’t wait for the next challenge. Thanks to ESG Football Academy for giving us these opportunities, we are really grateful for the support they give us and to ‘Girls football, in genera, in the sultanate.”
The impressive performance in Bahrain has given the young team a lot of confidence and they are already looking forward to their next big tournament which will be in Abu Dhabi, in February 2024. They now have a few weeks off before they get back to the grind, preparing for the Abu Dhabi meet, organised by Manchester City, with teams coming from all over the world.
Exited for the next challenge
We have a very good team bond which helped us through this tough tournament. All are excited and can’t wait for the next challenge