La Liga opens first Egyptian football academy

Cairo,  La Liga on Monday presented its first football academy in Egypt, which aims to bring new talent to Spanish clubs and guide them on a similar path as Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

The new academy has been up and running for just one week and has already enrolled 75 students, the director general of La Liga in the Middle East and North Africa, Fernando Sanz, told EFE.

“Egypt is a big country, with a passion for soccer,” Sanz explained. “That’s why we’ve opened (an academy) here, in order to give young people the tools they need to play in the Spanish league.”

The former Real Madrid and Malaga player asserted that La Liga is the “most followed” football league in Egypt.

He added that students would learn the unique Spanish style of play, which depends on possession and short passes, at the academy located in the suburb of New Cairo, east of the capital.

La Liga has similar academies in the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia and the United States, and is currently planning to inaugurate an academy in Jordan.

Currently nominated for FIFA’s best men’s player award, Salah is known for his humble beginnings in a small village in the Nile Delta, and made his European debut with Swiss club FC Basel after playing in Egypt’s top league.

Forty percent of Egypt’s 100 million people are under the age of 18, the country’s state statistics agency reported in 2017.