Aspire Zone Foundation takes over Belgian football club KAS Eupen
MIR BASIT HUSSAIN DOHA
ASPIRE Zone Foundation (AZF) has taken over the control and management of the football division of the Belgian club KAS Eupen. This was announced at a press conference in the European club’s home town of Eupen on Wednesday.
Senior officials from both sides attended the event. They included Dieter Steffens, president KAS Eupen, Elmar Keutgen, mayor of Eupen, Ivan Bravo, director-general of Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, Josep Colomer, director, Aspire Football Dreams, and Dr Andreas Bleicher, advisor to AZF attended the event.
The agreement, which stipulates that AZF oversees the management of the footballrelated activities of KAS Eupen, further develops the Aspire Academy and Aspire Football Dreams (AFD) initiatives of AZF. AFD, a unique and fascinating humanitarian football project, specifically targets developing countries on three continents – Asia, Africa and Latin America – and aims to identify the future talents of world football. Through international scholarships, the selected individuals from the developing countries are given the opportunity to improve their ability whilst receiving a well-rounded education at Aspire Academy or Aspire Senegal.
The agreement is aimed at helping AZF bridge the gap between junior players with great potential and elite professional players, which ultimately feeds into the selection of local and international AFD players.
It also gives Aspire individuals the chance to play in a highly competitive and professional football environment and helps them to find the right performance level at a critical period in their journey towards international football careers.
Ivan Bravo, Director-General of Aspire Academy, said: “We are delighted over the AZF – KAS Eupen agreement. This will allow our aspiring Aspire and AFD players the chance to play professionally and ultimately further their football careers.” “As importantly, these talents will have better opportunities to represent their home countries on an international platform as many of them have already done with their national teams at the U-17/U-19 level,” he added.
Echoing these sentiments, Dr Andreas Bleicher said, “It is very clear that with Aspire Football Dreams we have only one goal: the development of football talent.
We want to help the young players make their dreams come true. Being a professional football player in a club like KAS Eupen is the necessary next step for them to make this vision come to life.” Mayor Elmar Keugten said: “This step reflects our vision for KAS Eupen. The city is convinced that AZF is a serious partner who is here to build a long-term partnership. We will all benefit from that: the City of Eupen, the Club and AZF.” Since the programme inauguration in 2007, Aspire Football Dreams has already tested over three million young footballers from Asia, Latin America, and Africa, as part of the largestever talent search in the world of sport.