Following on from the success of the first ever FIFA World Cup held in the Persian Gulf, the organisers behind SuperCupNI have announced an exciting partnership with a youth tournament based in the region, which is the brainchild of a tournament graduate!
The Mina Cup took place in Dubai for the first time in April 2022 and the man behind the tournament, Chris Brown, is a tournament graduate. Brown played for Crewe Alexandra in 1996 and the Englishman admitted the tournament was the inspiration behind the Mina Cup.
“I played for Crewe Alexandra at the tournament in 1996 where we lost to Spurs in the semi-final. It was an incredible experience and some of the memories from that tournament are things that I will never forget.
“It is an extremely well-run tournament with fantastic crowds and a real feel of what it would be like to be a professional footballer at a young age.
“Since moving to Dubai, I’ve been heavily involved in football and now run a football company that focuses on youth development, coach education and football event management and promotion.
“We are blessed with some incredible facilities in Dubai and for years I had been thinking of trying to organise an elite youth football tournament and at the back of my mind I wanted to deliver an event that replicated the quality and standard of SuperCupNI.”
The inaugural Mina Cup took place last April and welcomed the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Pumas UNAM from Mexico and Sturm Graz from Austria, as well as teams from Asia and Africa.
Discussions between the organisers of the Mina Cup and SuperCupNI have taken place over the last number of months and an exciting partnership has been formed.
The winners of the SuperCupNI Minor Section in 2023 will qualify for a place at the Mina Cup in 2024 and the winners of the U14 UAE qualifying competition in the Autumn of 2023 will qualify for the SuperCupNI Premier Section in 2024.
SuperCupNI chairman Victor Leonard said it is an exciting development for the tournament as they celebrate their 40th anniversary.
“Chris and his team had originally contacted us for advice as he was about to launch the Mina Cup.
“Since then, we have kept in close contact with Chris, and he is coming over to Northern Ireland in July to take in the tournament and some of our tournament management team will hopefully go to Dubai to take in the Mina Cup in the near future.
“We are keen to build this relationship and share resources and ideas, and we are really looking forward to working with Chris and his team.
“This is an exciting development in what is our 40th anniversary year and we have a number of very exciting plans in the pipeline, which we intend to announce over the coming weeks and months.”