Posted on April 20, 2017

After nearly a week of thrilling matches between 16 teams, the 12th Player Tournament organised by Aspire Zone Foundation is entering its final stages.

Following 20 competitive games featuring players representing football fan associations for a variety of local, regional and international clubs in Qatar, the quarter finals are now taking shape as the thrilling tournament enters the final straight. Reflecting the wide range of nationalities that make Qatar’s population, teams featuring football fans of clubs from both Qatar and from around the world taking part in the competition include Qatar’s Al-Rayyan, Al-Sadd, Al-Gharafa and Al-Arabi; Tunisia’s Club Africain; Morocco’s Raja Casablanca; Sudan’s Al-Merrikh; Egypt’s Al-Ahli; Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona; England’s Arsenal and Chelsea; and Italy’s Roma, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli.

Arsenal, Al-Ahli, Al-Arabi and 2 [].jpgCommenting on the enthusiasm and visible passion of players taking part in the tournament, Mr. Abdullah Al Khater, Events Manager at AZF, said: “Fans play such an incredibly important part in spurring on the success of their favourite footballers and teams and their support can have such a hugely positive impact on the game. This tournament is the ideal way to give some of the most vocal and committed fans in Qatar the opportunity to take their passion onto the pitch and show just how much their club means to them. With this event, we’re looking to celebrate the community of fans that exist around clubs and the strong bonds of friendship and sportsmanship that such passion forges and demonstrate just how passionate Qatar is about football.”

The tournament is the latest example of AZF’s commitment to organizing a range of engaging and inspiring sporting events to encourage healthy and active lifestyles amongst Qatar’s varied communities. It also highlights the organisation’s logistical and sporting capabilities and expertise as the latest example of a successful football tournament following Ooredoo Temba and the Aspire Zone Banks League earlier this year.

Adel Jomaa, a member of the Al-Rayyan FC Fan Association said: “My friends and I follow Al-Rayyan everywhere. We were hugely excited when we heard of the 12th Player Tournament and immediately decided to spread the word on our social media channels and with our fellow supporters at the fan association. I was also thrilled when I heard it would be played at Aspire amazing facilities as they are of a professional standard and have seen some of the best players in the world show their skills there. We were thrilled to be have the opportunity to play on the same pitches and represent our beloved Al-Rayyan.”

Arsenal, Al-Ahli, Al-Arabi and 3 [].jpgThe challenge has now soared at the group stage with the last day of the qualifiers taking place on Thursday. Teams are now competing hard to secure the points that will keep them in the competition for longer. On Monday, four thrilling Group (C) matches were played out, with Qatar’s Al-Gharafa beating Morocco’s Raja Casablanca 2-1, Spain’s FC Barcelona losing to Qatar’s Al-Arabi 6-0, Italy’s Napoli hammering England’s Chelsea 6-0, and Al-Rayyan scoring an incredible six goals in their match with Spain’s Real Madrid that ended 6-1 at the final whistle.

The second round of matches in Group (A) on Tuesday saw the following high-scoring results:  Italy’s Roma beat Inter Milan 12-1, Tunisia’s Club Africain beat England’s Arsenal 10-1, Egypt’s Al-Ahli beat Sudan’s Al-Merrikh 3-1, and Qatar’s Al-Sadd beat Italy’s Juventus 3-0. Group (C) and (D) resumed their matches on Tuesday with the following results: Qatar’s Al-Gharafa beat Spain’s FC Barcelona 13-0, Qatar’s Al-Arabi beat Morocco’s Raja Casablanca 4-0, Qatar’s Al-Rayyan beat England’s Chelsea 5-1 and Italy’s Napoli beat Spain’s Real Madrid 3-1.

With these high-scoring results, Arsenal, Al-Ahli, Al-Arabi and Al-Rayyan all top their groups respectively until the announcement of the final group stage results on Thursday. The quarter-finals will start on April 22nd and the semi-finals on April 24th. The final match will then be played on April 26th, with a championship for AZF workers running in parallel which will start next Saturday, April 22nd. The 12th Player Tournament is being organised with the help of the following sponsors: Doha Bank, who were the tournament’s Gold Partner, Nissan as Silver Partner, and Oxygen and Oryx who were both Bronze Partners. The Strategic Partner, the Qatar Football Association, and Community Partner, Qatar Living, also supported the event.

Football fans are welcome to attend the tournament and cheer on their favourite teams. Only the final match requires a ticket, which can be purchased at the entrances to Aspire Park Aspire Academy for only 10 riyals.

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