In previous tournaments some players have excelled to become figures of world football and household names. Previous greats who started their international football career in the FIFA U-17 World Cup include Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas, Landon Donovan, Xavi and Luis Figo.
FIFA.com catches up with three gems within the UAE U-17 national team who themselves may become stars of the future; Firas Al Khusaibi, Mohamed Al Shamsi and Sultan Al Badrani.
Al Khusaibi who plays for the Abu Dhabi team Al Ain, tells us how vital it is for the tournament to be in the UAE, “since this tournament is happening on home soil, the fans' support is the most important thing to get big crowds in to the stadium”. Al Khusaibi started at Al Ain FC at 12 years old and joined the national team two years later.
Professionally, the young defender looks up to Roberto Carlos whose playing style he tries to emulate with strong runs from defence. The appreciation for Roberto Carlos continues as Al Khusaibi’s dream is to play for Inter Milan, where the young Carlos shot to fame in 1995. Preparation is key for Al Khusaibi’s U-17 dream and believes that this tournament is the perfect opportunity to show his best skills and wow the UAE crowds.
Mohamed Al Shamsi, the goalkeeper in the UAE team’s arsenal, also echoes Al Khusaibi’s excitement to start his professional international career and catch the attention of football scouts who will watch the tournament with keen interest.
Al Shamsi has football running in his blood as he is related to Shiban Saleh who plays for Al Wahda FC, the club Al Shamsi started at. When taking time off training this goalkeeper likes spending time at one of the UAE's many beaches. Whilst Al Shamsi’s dreams of one day playing for Manchester United, his favourite player is the former German football goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn, who achieved international fame when his national team reached the FIFA World Cup 2002™ Final.
Finally we turn to Sultan Al Badrani, this defender who has been playing since the age of eight, when he started at Al Ain. He is related to Waleed Salim Al Badrani, the goalkeeper who plays for Al Ain FC. Sultan Al Badrani's all-time favourite player is FIFA Player of the Year 2004 and 2005, Ronaldinho.
Ronaldinho started his international career at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 1997 and was identified as a rising star. Could the same happen for Al Badrani? This is the tournament that gives everyone an opportunity to see legends begin.
Tickets for the tournament will be available in late June from the ticketing section, which can be found above. The tournament starts on 17 October and concludes on 8 November.