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La Liga in Egypt
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 27 - 09 - 2018

The Primera División, commonly known as La Liga, is the men's top professional football division of the Spanish football league and one of the most famous in the world. Now, in a way, it has come to Egypt.
Last week, the launch of La Liga Football Academy in Egypt was announced at a press conference at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel and attended by Fernando Sanz, the former Real Madrid player who is currently La Liga general director in the Middle East and North Africa, and Hussein Murad, managing director of the academy in Egypt.
“We are proud to launch La Liga Football Academy in Egypt, a country with great passion for football,” Sanz said. “We believe that Egypt is full of exceptional talent and young players waiting to be discovered and given the right opportunity to express their own abilities. And we look forward to discovering and developing them to their highest potential at La Liga's highest standards.”
Sanz added, “at La Liga Academy, youth from across Egypt will benefit from the best coaching from the strongest league in the world, the same coaching delivered at La Liga clubs in Spain, while providing top talent to a clear pathway to pro football careers. La Liga Academy in Egypt is a big step in our commitment to youth football in the country and across the region.”
When asked why Egypt was chosen to launch La Liga Academy, Murad said Egypt “was always our first choice. Egypt has a wealth of talent and we want to see more Egyptians playing professionally. We want to help them to fulfill their dreams whether in Egypt, in the region or across the globe. That's why we chose Egypt as our new academy location.”
LaLiga Academy's rigorous training programmes are developed by the world's strongest league and by UEFA-PRO certified La Liga coaches from Spain.
The academy will run summer scouting camps in Spain for 21 days where players will play against La Liga youth clubs, including Sevilla FC, Real Betis and Malaga, which will increase their chances to be scouted for professional football careers.
“La Liga's superior training method features not only football techniques, skills and fitness to hone players for competitive matches, but also emphasises physical, emotional and mental strength development,” Sanz said when asked about the difference between La Liga Academy and other academies already in Egypt. “The coaches work closely with players and monitor their progress with one-on-one feedback sessions and regular dedicated development reports around players' performance, physical fitness, skill levels and technique.”
Murad added, “while focusing on individual player development, the acclaimed La Liga method also emphasises team spirit by developing the ability of children to interact with team members on the pitch to bring out the best in each other's play, thereby boosting the level of the entire team.
“The academy will focus in its training methods on the Spanish way of playing football and will help the players to develop their skills in ball possession, short passing, player movement, technical skills, decision making, teamwork, strategising and communication,” Murad said.
La Liga Academy in Egypt will allow players older than 18 to choose their own path, whether it is a professional football career or academics. It will also give its members the opportunity to receive scholarships in universities in the US.
The academy's fees are from LE6,150 to LE6,970 in the fall season, LE4,950 to LE5,610 in winter and LE4,350 to LE4,930 in spring.
It is open for boys and girls of all nationalities aged 4-18 years old.
Training will kick off at the American International School and Cairo English School in Tagammo in Cairo, with training sessions offered six times a week.
La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 26,983 for league matches in the 2017-18 season. This is the sixth highest of any domestic professional sports league in the world and the third highest of any professional association football league in the world, behind the Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
According to UEFA's league coefficient, La Liga has been the top league in Europe over the last five years and has led Europe for more years, 21, than any other country.
Sixty-two teams have competed in La Liga since its inception. Nine teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 33 times and Barcelona 25 times.
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The writer is a freelance journalist.


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