Saturday 21 December 2019, 11:20

Dalian youngsters enjoy thrilling Wanda FIFA Flag Bearer experience

Stepping out at a world final is a memory cherished for a lifetime by any player lucky enough to do so. But they’re not the only ones who leave the stadium having experienced something they’ll never forget.

Before the teams take to the field, the stage is set as the flags are brought onto the field, with the Wanda FIFA Flag Bearers those getting the honour to do so. At the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™, thanks to Wanda Group and the Qatar Foundation, a fleet of 22 academy players from Chinese side Dalian Professional FC are among them.

It’s not only a breath-taking experience on the pitch for these teenagers – many of which who have never had the chance to travel abroad before – as the U-14 side have been able to enjoy a week immersing themselves in Qatari culture.

Qatar 2019 is now the third tournament where Wanda Group have given these kinds of opportunities to football-loving youngsters, having seen Wanda FIFA Flag Bearers grace the field at both the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

“We are delighted to have been able to connect our partnership with FIFA with our football club in Dalian,” Wanda President of Culture, Lincoln Zhang, said, “and I would like to thank our partners at Qatar Foundation for all their support in granting this group of talented young footballers a truly unforgettable experience.”

The collaboration between Wanda Group and the Qatar Foundation has allowed for children from very different backgrounds connect over football, too. “Welcoming Dalian Professional FC U-14 team to Qatar for the tour has served as a unique opportunity for cultural exchange between the various players from Aspire, Qatar Academy Doha and Qatar Foundation locally,” explained Mohammed A. Fakhroo, Executive Director of Outreach and Institutional Advancement at the Qatar Foundation.

On Saturday, these 22 children will be getting to live out a dream of walking out at a world final in the Khalifa International Stadium, no doubt hoping the next time they do it will be as one of 22 lining up to burst into action once the whistle goes.