Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1227, (1-7 January 2015)
Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Issue 1227, (1-7 January 2015)

Ahram Weekly

 In Egypt, Xavi knows talent when he sees it

An icon on Barcelona and the Spanish national football team, Xavi launched his five-year training campaign aiming at young talents in the Middle East and Africa, starting off with Palm Hills Club Egypt. Mohamed Abdel-Razek speaks to the maestro

Al-Ahram Weekly

Setting up a unique example of how a football icon should be while paying back home, Xavi Hernandes, much better known for just his first name, decided to establish “Campus Xavi” 10 years ago. Kicking off alongside his professional career, Xavi managed his efforts and time between his role on the pitch as a professional football player and his role towards the people of Catalonia, from where he comes, through his eagerness to pass what he has learnt throughout a sterling career to the young lads in Barcelona while still a player.

During the time that Xavi kept excelling in his professional career as a player, he captured trophies for FC Barcelona and himself -- winning the La Liga seven times, the Copa del Rey three times, Supercopa de Espana six times, UEFA Champions League three times, UEFA Super Cup twice, and FIFA Club World Cup twice.

For the national team, the maestro won the FIFA World Youth Championship of 1999, UEFA European Football Championship twice, and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. In addition to the dozens of personal records that made him among the finest who ever touched the ball, like World Soccer player of the year, and Ballon d’Or third place twice, his popularity kept on growing internationally outside the borders of Spain, a fact that toted up additional duties towards his fans all over the world. Hence, Xavi without hesitation decided to add to the tally of success Campus Xavi had accomplished in Girona, Spain, by taking his project to the international levels with the help of his family.

Out of the whole world, the legendary passer chose Egypt, precisely Palm Hills Club FCB Escola Academy, established in 2006, to mark the start of his five-year tour in the Middle East and Africa. There is no need for brain squeezing trying to find out the reasons for the choice. Building well formed communities starting from youths was a driving force. Xavi connected the Palm Hills community led by Tarek Abdel-Rahman, co-ceo at Palm Hills Developments, and Campus Xavi.    

Five lucky youngsters were chosen out of many others to join the five-day camp, however, it wasn’t an easy task for the young talents as they had to be good enough to pass back-breaking tryouts conducted by 15 certified Spanish trainers from Campus Xavi.

Al-Ahram Weekly had the chance to ask Xavi about what will Egyptian talents learn by the end of his camp. “I came here to teach young talents develop their game both technically and tactically and most importantly the traits and values I learned in Barcelona of how to play fairly with other players the ethical way.”

Xavi added that he couldn’t imagine playing elsewhere away from Barcelona, growing up as a loyal fan then as a player witnessing glory with the Blaugrana. That was enough to link Xavi with the Barca for his entire football career. “I wish I can stay with Barcelona forever.”

At 34, he made it clear that he had reached an agreement with the team’s head coach Luis Enrique that will keep him in Barca until 2016.

On the talents in Egypt, Xavi expressed his pleasure at the young players he saw in the tryouts from the first day, saying he will talk to the Barcelona academy about them when he returns to Spain.

In a press conference he held earlier, Xavi advised Egypt’s Mohamed Salah to stay with Chelsea and compete for a regular place on the team.

“I know Mohamed Salah,” Xavi said. “Salah is the most famous Egyptian player in Europe. I advise Salah to stay at Chelsea to compete for a regular place as football is a competitive game so he has to give his best to get his target,” he added.

Palm Hills planned Xavi’s visit to coincide with New Year’s and Christmas as a message to the world that Egypt is safe. In addition to building up ideal communities, that was a positive way of using sports to build well formed communities from the ground up.


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