Real Madrid, Juventus, Benfica Lisbon, AS Monaco and AS Roma are just five of the many illustrious names taking part in this year's U19 Al Abtal International Cup. Austria Wien will also be taking part again this year by invitation. "Competing against such opponents is priceless for our talents," says a delighted Manuel Takacs, head of sports of the academy.
This gives the young Violets a great opportunity to gain international experience and measure themselves against their peers from top European clubs. The match dates have been chosen so that they do not clash with matches in the ÖFB Youth League and the Eastern Regional League. The 2006 and 2007 age groups are eligible to play in the Al Abtal Cup, while a maximum of three players from the 2005 age group (U19) are allowed to play.
In Group C, the Violets will face Nottingham Forest (ENG), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Villarreal CF (Spain) and the Future Falcons (Saudi Arabia) from November 2023 to January 2024.
"I am happy for our talents that the organizer invited us again after our positive performances last year. I am convinced that these matches also make a valuable contribution to individual development. To be able to compete against such opponents is priceless for our youngsters," says the sporting director of the Austria academy, Manuel Takacs, who is already looking forward to the Cup.
The squad of the U19 team will be composed of players from the U18s as well as the Young Violets and will be coached by U18 head coach Christoph Witamwas together with his assistant Simon Goigitzer. "Now that we know from last year that we can also compete internationally and that it's all down to the little things, we want to play for promotion to the final tournament."
Matchday 1: Nov. 22, 2023, against Nottingham Forest (in Salou, Spain)
Matchday 2: December 13, 2023 against Villarreal (in Salou/Spain)
Matchday 3: December 16, 2023 vs. Future Falcons (in Salou/Spain)
Matchday 4: January 17, 2024 against Sporting Lisbon (venue still open/Salou or Lisbon)
Mode: The game will be played in four groups. The group winners and the three best runners-up qualify for a final tournament in Spain in June.
The other participants in the tournament are Valencia CF, AS Monaco, Red Star Belgrade, Sporting CP, Real Madrid, KRC Genk, AEK Athens, Olympique Marseille, Real Sociedad, Slavia Prague, Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiakos Piraeus.