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The Away Game

The Epic Search for Football’s Next Superstars

by Sebastian Abbot

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ISBN: 9781788851060
Published: 05 Jul 2018
Format: E-Book
Extent: 304
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: Arena Sport
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About the Book

Over the past decade, an audacious programme called Football Dreams has held trials for millions of 13-year-old boys across Africa
looking for football’s next superstars. Led by the Spanish scout who helped launch Lionel Messi’s career at Barcelona and funded by the
desert kingdom of Qatar, the programme has chosen a handful of boys each year to train to become professionals – a process over a
thousand times more selective than getting into Harvard.
In The Away Game, reporter Sebastian Abbot follows a small group of the boys as they are discovered on dirt fields across Africa, join the
glittering academy in Doha where they train, and compete for the chance to gain fame and fortune at Europe’s top clubs.
Abbot masterfully weaves together the dramatic story of the boys’ journey with an exploration of the art and science of trying to spot talent
at such a young age. Richly reported and deeply moving, The Away Game is set against the geopolitical backdrop of Qatar’s rise from an
impoverished patch of desert to an immensely rich nation determined to buy a place on the international stage. It is an unforgettable story
of the joy and pain these talented African boys experience as they chase their dreams in a dizzying world of rich Arab sheikhs, moneyhungry
agents, and football-mad European fans.

The Author

Sebastian Abbot

Sebastian Abbot worked for the Associated Press in Cairo and Islamabad, where he was bureau chief. He holds a bachelor’s degree ineconomics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Helives in New York.