By Laman Ismayilova
The Azerbaijan Islamic Solidarity Games Operations Committee (AISGOC) has announced the eight teams that will compete for gold in the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games football competition.
Azerbaijan will be joined by teams from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine and Algeria. Each squad will be made up of under-23 players, with teams also able to field a maximum of three over-age players.
Teams will initially be drawn into one of two pools of four, where they will play the other sides in that group. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals, with the winners of those matches going on to compete for the gold and silver, whilst the two losing teams will play-off for a bronze medal.
The competition will comprise 16 matches in total, which will take place at four venues across Baku – Bayil Arena, Dalga Arena, Tofiq Bahramov Stadium and Azal Arena. Given the condensed format of the competition, the first round of matches, which will see all eight teams in action, will take place on 8 May. The semi-finals and final are currently scheduled to be played on the 18 and 21 May respectively, with the final being held at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium.
Speaking about the football competition, Mark Honeybunn, Baku 2017, Director of Sport said: “We have already received significant interest in the Baku 2017 football competition and expect the level of excitement to rise upon the announcement of the participating teams.”
He added that with 16 matches taking place in total, the competition has been scheduled in such a way as to provide those teams that progress to the latter stages with the necessary time to prepare ahead of the semi-final and final matches.
“We expect demand for tickets to be high, not just from those people keen to support the host nation, Azerbaijan, but also from football fans who have the opportunity to see some of the world football stars of the future here in Baku.”
Tickets for all football matches will go on sale on 19 March and will be available online via the Baku 2017 website or from one of 12 ticket outlets located across Baku.
The Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games is an exciting multi-sport event uniting the Islamic world, which will take place from 12 – 22 May 2017.
Athletes from Islamic countries around the world will be representing their nations over 10 days of competition across 20 different sports which include 23 disciplines (Athletics and Para Athletics, Aquatics – Diving, Aquatics – Swimming, Aquatics – Water Polo, Basketball 3x3, Football, Gymnastics – Artistic, Gymnastics – Rhythmic, Wushu, Table Tennis, Handball, Judo and Blind Judo, Wrestling – Greco, Wrestling – Freestyle, Shooting, Tennis, Volleyball, Boxing, Zurkhaneh, Karate, Taekwondo and Weightlifting) in 16 modern competition venues in Baku.
Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku was awarded the Games at the General Assembly of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) in Jeddah in July 2013.