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Qatar Airways


Media release.
Published: 24-Apr-2015 09:59 am
Publisher: Qatar Airways

Fifteen 13-year-old boys from across the African continent selected

Set to play their international friendly match against FC Barcelona Youth Team this May in Barcelona

DOHA, Qatar – After what was undoubtedly much nervous anticipation from the players, as well as careful evaluation and deliberation by the coaches, the names of the final 15 footballers selected for the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team have been officially announced.

The select group of 13-year-old boys who make up the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa represent a number of countries across the African continent including Ghana, Gambia, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Mali. 

Those selected for the Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team will now enter a five-year programme at the Aspire Academy in Senegal, where they will train, compete, study and learn to manage their lives and careers successfully, with the goal of one day playing for a professional club or their respective national teams.

The players, who have been playing together for almost one month since coming together as a team in March, will have an excellent opportunity to show off their skills when they travel to Barcelona this May to play a friendly match against the FC Barcelona Under 15’s youth team.

Those who wish to find out more about the 15 selected talented footballers who make up the inaugural Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team, can learn more at

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are extremely excited to see the inaugural Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa team becoming a reality. And we are very proud to have our name associated with such a wonderful and life-changing programme, which will see these young boys build on their natural talent, making them into footballers worthy of playing at a professional level. We wish the boys the very best of luck at their match in Barcelona.”

Aspire Academy Director General, Ivan Bravo, said: “The match in Barcelona is going to be a great experience for the selected players and we are very thankful that Qatar Airways joined us in this initiative. Breaking into the world of professional football demands a lot of hard work. It is opportunities like this trip to Spain that might motivate the young players to put in even more effort in order to reach their goal of becoming professional football players.”



Launched in 2007, Aspire Football Dreams gives young football players from developing countries the opportunity to reach the heights of international football through training and development at their Academy located in Senegal. Each year, the programme selects a number of 13-year-old boys who go through a rigorous assessment process in the hopes of being selected to attend the Academy. 

Having already tested two million football players since the beginning of the programme eight years ago, Aspire Football Dreams is the largest-ever talent search in football. This is the first year that Qatar Airways has partnered with the Aspire Academy Aspire Football Dreams programme in Africa.

Over the last year, Aspire Football Dreams coaches, staff and more than 4,000 volunteers, assessed 400,000 13-year-old football players, at approximately 650 football fields, in 14 countries. Of those, 35 boys were selected to fly to Senegal, home of the Aspire Football Dreams Academy for their final assessment, which included rigorous training and matches against Spanish youth team, RCD Espanyol, before the final selection was made. 

Results of the Aspire Football Dreams programme have already been made evident with a number of graduating students being signed to professional teams in Europe, including Diawandou Diagne, who signed with FC Barcelona B team last July, and Ibrahim Diallo from Mali who signed with, Valencia CF B Team  in Spain last January. 

Fans can learn more about how they can win a chance to fly to Barcelona to watch the friendly match between Qatar Airways & Aspire Academy – Football Dreams Africa Team and FC Barcelona Youth Team by subscribing at or watch for more information.

About Qatar Airways Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its Doha hub and also delivers freight to 146 key business and leisure destinations globally on 142 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes four Airbus 330 and seven Boeing 777 freighters. At the Dubai Airshow 2013, Qatar Airways placed a firm order for five new Airbus A330-200 freighters. Also included in the order were eight additional A330-200F options, for a total of 13 aircraft. At the recent Farnborough Show, Qatar Airways announced its intent to order four 777 freighters and options for four more. IATA's Airline Industry Forecast 2014-2018 report mentions that Qatar will be a notable growth country with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7 percent, making it the sixth-fastest growing to take its total freight tonnes to 1,484,000 per annum.

For Qatar Airways Cargo images, please click here:

For further information contact:
Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department
Tel: +974 40222072, Fax: +974 40225350

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