KARACHI: Brazil and Barcelona great Neymar Jr is giving thousands of young football players the chance to step up their game by staging a unique knockout tournament starting in 2016.
Fresh from his nomination for FIFA’s Ballon D’or last week, the striker is to invite players at the ages of 16 to 25 years in more than 35 countries, across 6 continents, to team up for his five-a-side tournament, ‘Neymar Jr’s Five’.
“It’s a fun, fast and technical game,” said Neymar Jr who grew up playing the same kind of fast-paced five-a-side football in his neighborhood.
“It’s the kind of football I’ve always loved to play and this time we play it with a special twist to it. The five-player teams lose one player each time they concede a goal until there are no players left, or the 10-minute game ends. This will be even more exciting.”
The tournament in Pakistan starts next month from March 12 onwards in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad with the national finals slated to take place in Islamabad on the 27th of March. The national champion from Pakistan will then advance to the finals in July in Praia Grande, where Neymar Jr grew up, started his professional career and lately founded “Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr”.
Neymar Jr, who alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez has lit up La Liga with Barcelona this season, helped devise the format and will also have the winning team as his guests at a match at “Camp Nou” in Barcelona, Spain.
The world final will be held in July at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The institute’s aim is to offer extracurricular educational and sporting activities to the most socially disadvantaged children and families to promote social inclusion and encourage participation in the community.
The Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr was opened in 2014 and is the second ‘FutbolNet’ program in Brazil in partnership with FC Barcelona Foundation after a first was set up in the favelas in Rio de Janeiro two years earlier.
Teams of 5 to 7 players can sign up for the tournament via www.neymarjrsfive.com. For further information, contact Maria Mahesar at 0321-8222638.