Posted on December 22, 2019

The Dalian Professional FC Under-14 football team has wrapped up its Qatar Foundation tour with six young players, along with six Qatar Foundation youth serving as flag bearers for the final of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™, which took place at Khalifa International Stadium on December 21.

Dalian Professional FC came to Qatar as part of Wanda's FIFA Flag Bearers Programme at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™, an ongoing initiative between Qatar Foundation (QF) and Wanda aimed at inspiring the next generation of football talent in China and all over the world.

Liu Enzhe, 14 and a defender for Dalian Professional FC said: “As a child I used to watch a lot of football and saw young kids carrying the flag into the stadium and I never imagined that one day I would get the opportunity to do the same. I was extremely excited. I followed all the instructions as every movement must be precise. “I would like to thank my family, the coaches, the Club and China for giving me this opportunity to take part in such an important international event. I will never forget the moment I walked in the stadium and feeling so proud.”

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During the week-long tour, each of the 22 aspiring footballers were given the chance to serve as flag bearers, along with 18 young people from QF’s sport and community programs. Lincoln Zhang, Wanda President of Culture, said: “Wanda Group has powerful and deep-rooted connections to football in China, particularly in our home of Dalian. It is our commitment to continue to support the development of the sport through initiatives in China and across the world that provide players and fans with richer experiences. “We are delighted to have been able to connect our partnership with FIFA with our football club in Dalian, and I would like to thank our partners at Qatar Foundation for all their support in granting this group of talented young footballers a truly unforgettable experience.”

As part of the tour, the visiting Chinese team also played three friendly games against select teams from Aspire Academy, Qatar Academy Doha, and Qatar Foundation, and trained at QF’s facilities in Education City. The team was also given the opportunity to participate in a series of cultural activities, visiting landmarks such Souq Waqif and the National Museum of Qatar and enjoying the sport and entertainment Education City has to offer from Golf, Bowling, recreation centres and more. Mei Cheng Fu, 14 and a goalkeeper for Dalian Professional FC said: “I was excited to be a part of the tour and visit Qatar as I had watched China play Qatar last year and then earlier this year when they won the Asian Cup.”

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Further to the Dalian Professional FC tour, the partnership has also enabled 18 Qatar Foundation youth, including those from the ability friendly programme to also participate in the Wanda FIFA Flag Bearers Programme. Mohammed A. Fakhroo, Executive Director of Outreach and Institutional Advancement at Qatar Foundation, said: “We are thankful to the Wanda Group for our continued working relationship that has enabled Qatar Foundation youth from all nationalities to have transformative and inspirational moments, both on and off the pitch. “The Wanda FIFA Flag Bearer Programme has allowed youth ambassadors, including those with disabilities from our ability-friendly sports program, to participate in these unforgettable moments in sport.

“Welcoming the Dalian Professional FC Under-14 team to Qatar for the tour has served as a unique opportunity for cultural exchange between the various players from Aspire Academy, Qatar Academy Doha, and Qatar Foundation. It has also allowed Qatar to showcase Education City as an education and sporting destination to the team and the wider Chinese community.”