(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman's first full-fledged residential football academy is likely to come up by early 2015, according to its promoters, Al Jarwani Group.
The promoters have announced that the Muscat Football Academy (MFA), as it is being called, will begin its day-to-day operations next month with Azzan Bin Qais International School (ABQIS) as its base for the time being, while the residential set-up will come up on the outskirts of Muscat.
The MFA will get started with training lessons for children hailing from various schools, aged 4-18 years.
The academy has roped in former Moroccan star and English Premier League (EPL) player, Chuck Martini, as its head coach.
Martini worked with a number of English clubs - he was at the helm of Walton and Hersham FC - before taking up the MFA job.
The former Morocco goalkeeper, [has five caps] has played for Leicester City and has had stints at English sides Wimbledon FC, Wycombe Wanders FC and High Wycombe Bucks.
Martini began his football career in England as an apprentice player with Tottenham Hotspur and also played professional football in the US with Dallas Sidekicks and FC Dallas.
In an exclusive interview with Muscat Daily, the 42 year old British national said, ''This is a one-of-its-kind project in the sultanate. We have been inspired by the Aspire Academy in Qatar and we would like to bring a similar concept to Oman.
The Al Jarwani Group's chairman, Mahmoud al Jarwani, is keen to provide world-class facilities to the academy that will facilitate integrated football development, sports science and academic learning for both boys and girls.
''The facility will come up somewhere on the outskirts of Muscat, where the group will build a downtown mall. It will be a state-of-art centre with football pitches, gymnasium and a complete residential academy. We have already agreed to bring in two more professional coaches from the UK.''
The schoolchildren at the MFA will train daily from 4-8.30pm, while the weekends will have matches.
Martini said, ''We have been in touch with the Oman Football Association [on this project]. Also, I had given a pep talk to the national U16 team before it left for the AFC Cup qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The boys have qualified for the finals and we are happy to have played a small role in their success.''
He added, ''The national U16 team has been offered a full one-year programme to train with us without any cost. We are eager to play a pro-active role in scouting for talent and giving them a suitable atmosphere to groom them. We are keen to work hand-in-hand with the OFA and have had positive feedback from them.
''With my long coaching background with pro teams, I believe there is much to offer in a young nation like Oman. This is why I have taken up this new challenge to scout, groom and develop young, talented players here.''
Martini was a protege of renowned English manager Martin O'Neil, who has been in charge at Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland in the past.
Martini, who is also known as Chuck Moussadik, is considered a football nomad, having played for at least 12 clubs in England, mostly non-league sides. He was among the top four keepers in Morocco during the 1994 World Cup in the US and accompanied the team, though he didn't get a ga