Twenty-five footballers arrived at Bahrain airport at silly o’clock in the morning on Saturday 7 April, bubbling with excitement at their imminent departure to Barcelona for the 2018 U11 Boys Football Tour to Spain. And what excitement there was!
After dropping luggage at the hotel, it was straight off to the Camp Nou and Barcelona vs Leganes in La Liga. Lionel Messi clearly heard about our visit and, with a very kind and much appreciated gesture, scored a hat-trick. In a busy couple of days, we had a tour of both the Camp Nou and (by far the best ever) RCDE Stadium, home of Espanyol. We also enjoyed a specialised coaching session from Espanyol coaches at Ciutat Esportiva Dani Jarque, and played against local club CF Gava Mar, who gave us a lesson in football.
Then it was off to Madrid, spending some time at Port Aventura on the way. In the capital, we went for an excellent (and freezing cold) coaching session at Ciudad Real Madrid with Real Madrid coaches, and played against Colegia Tajamar, who also gave us a footballing lesson. Enjoy Football joined us at the headquarters of the Spanish FA, Ciudad del Futbol, for some fun target games, Zorb Football and a 5-a-side competition, and we completed our trip activities with a tour of Santiago Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid.
We returned to Bahrain in the early hours of Saturday morning, with our footballers having learned a lot about Spanish football history, personal responsibility and the success of (or difficulty playing against) simple football. Thanks must go to Mr Maye, Mr Dales and Mr Holness who accompanied the team for an incredible all-round experience.
United: Oliver Duell, Zade Nouri, Nathan Busek, Faisal Al Jassim, Sam Szrich, Abdulla AlAali, Faisal Fakhro, Mohammed Al Khalifa.
Rovers: Amir Kawa, Noah Dales, Cameron Charters, Sami Ghozlani, Karim Alami, Fuad Kanoo, Shahmeer Hakeem, Rayyan Mirza, Ali Al Khaja.
Athletic: Mohamed Al Matrook, Hasan Alsatrawi, Fahad AlZamil, Hussein AlAali, Yazan Al-Mahoozi, Essa Bader, Rayan Maqbool, Abdulla Al Ramadhan.