A LOCAL football club has launched what it calls the ‘biggest amateur adult league’ in the kingdom, aimed at providing aspiring football players a chance to stay active in the game and, possibly, even pursue a professional career eventually.
The league, which will last two months, is scheduled for a July 1 kick-off at the Winners Football Club facility in Isa Town.
“We came up with the concept for the Winners Amateur League after noticing that lots of the young football players, who had enrolled in our club, didn’t continue playing the game after reaching the age of 17 or 18,” the club’s managing director, Fawaz Albinmohamed, told the GDN. “The league intends to not only keep such players active in the game, it is designed to give others a chance as well.”
The league could also function as a platform to spot upcoming talent for established clubs that play in national domestic competitions, he added.
Albinmohamed, 40, a former Al Najma Club player, and business partner, Ibrahim Al Sada, who used to play for Muharraq, started the football club in 2014. The club currently has 250 teenaged football players enrolled at its Isa Town premises and another 260 in the club’s facility in the Saudi city of Dammam.
There has been a huge outpouring of interest since the formal announcement of the league was made yesterday, Albinmohamed said.
“The league is intended for all kinds of amateur players, from the age of 17 upwards,” he explained. “We’ve had inquiries from everywhere: other academies, corporate concerns, hotels, other companies, all asking if they can register their teams for the league.”
The league would have a nine-a-side format for the first year, Albinmohamed continued, before changing to the traditional 11-a-side format in 2023.
“All the games will be played on weekends over two months, starting at the beginning of July,” he said. “It’s very heartening to see so much interest from so many different groups and companies. Some really big companies have already said they will be signing up soon – others are ready to follow suit.”
His club would enter three teams into the league, Albinmohamed said.
“I’ll be leading an adults team,” he explained. “Then, we’ll have an under-17 team and we will be managing a team for the American University of Bahrain (AUB).”
In other, even more momentous news, Albinmohamed revealed, Winners Football Club had also become the first such club in Bahrain to be registered by the General Sports Authority (GSA) as bearing the status of a commercial company.
“This is a big deal, a big honour,” Albinmohamed stressed. “We will be the first privately-owned club to enter the Bahrain Football Association’s (BFA) fold from next season. We are currently in the process of registering with the BFA for that purpose. All the other clubs that play in BFA competitions are wholly, or partially, owned by the government.”
He added that he wanted to express his gratitude to Supreme Council for Youth and Sport first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president, Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa for granting his approval for the club’s registration by the GSA.