Popular with kids and adults alike, Ahdaaf Sports Club and Youth Academy is one of the fastest growing football clubs in Dubai. We speak to Yousuf Al Hashimi, managing partner of Ahdaaf, to find out what’s on offer and how kids can get involved
Why did you decide to open Ahdaaf?
All four partners, Anas Bukhash, Fahad Kazim, Mustafa Al Hashimi and I are avid sports enthusiasts and noticed there was a gap in the market for a safe, fun environment to play turf five-aside football during the hot summer months. Ahdaaf targets kids from the ages of four to 14 promoting a fun and active lifestyle while learning and honing their football skills. We always felt that promoting a healthy lifestyle to the youth of the country is a duty we had as Emiratis, especially considering the alarmingly high rates of diabetes and obesity in the UAE, in addition to bridging the gap between the different communities living in the UAE through sports.
What’s on offer at Ahdaaf?
We have a wide range of different services. Our most basic is the ‘book & play’ where customers call 800AHDAAF and simply book their preferred slots for field rentals, show up with their friends and have a great game of football. We also organize community and corporate based leagues and tournaments, football themed birthday parties for kids, external events for companies and in-house corporate team building events and tournaments. We also have Ahdaaf Youth Coaching Academy where we provide fun, healthy, safe and skill developmental football coaching programs for kids ranging from 4-14 years of age.
Where are your locations?
We have several locations around the UAE. Our flagship branch is in Al Qouz, it’s an indoor facility with four five-a side FIFA grade turf fields, showers, changing rooms and an athletic performance training center managed by FAST Performance. We also manage the indoor multipurpose sports hall in Al Noor School for special needs in Barsha where we cater to sports like basketball, volleyball, badminton and football. In Abu Dhabi we have four outdoor turf fields that we manage at the Al Dar School in Al Bateen and we also manage four outdoor turf fields in the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club. We are constantly expanding and we have a few new locations and fields that will be opening very soon.
Can anyone join Ahdaaf?
Of course! We welcome people from all backgrounds, male, female and all ages. Our Academy caters to both boys and girls and we encourage everyone to come in and book an hour or more on any of our fields, everyone is welcome. Coaching takes place twice a week; Monday and Saturdays, in our indoor facility in Al Qouz and Wednesdays and Saturdays in Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club. Our sessions are 10 weeks long instructed by bilingual (Arabic/English) FA certified coaches, we also provide the kids with a 2 full kits to be worn during their sessions.
At what age can children start playing?
We start our coaching programs catering to kids from the age of four; however we do make some exceptions. We have a few three-year-olds that actually keep up and perform better than some of the older kids! Generally speaking though, the youngest we take into our programs are four-year-olds as we believe at that age the kids have developed enough motor and lingual skill to be able to comprehend what is being taught.
What are the benefits for children who start playing football?
The beauty of football is that it’s a team sport. All the kids get on really well together during our sessions with new friendships being formed all the time. The most amazing part of the development program is when you notice how their skills are constantly improving as they start understanding the aspect of team play, zoning, marking, passing and improving accuracy. If kids start from a young age they are able to develop an understanding of the importance of leading an active lifestyle and forming a good habit which hopefully will be taken forward to adulthood.
Is it an expensive sport to get involved with?
In terms of equipment, we provide all the necessary equipment for kids to participate in the academy. We charge a minimal fee that includes two full kits and a sports bag; in addition we have recommended footwear that we sell at Ahdaaf separately at a discounted rate. So overall it’s quite a cheap sport to get involved with, hence why football is the most popular sport in the world!
What are the days/times/sessions children can play football?
We are open from 10am to 12am, seven days a week in our main branch in Al Qouz, for all other timings check our website.
For more information contact Ahdaaf Sports Club and Youth Academy, Al Quoz. www.ahdaaf.ae (04 347 7666).