NTC Star Joins Centre Of Excellence
Words: Matt Dorman
Image: Brisbane Roar FC
PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues product Rahmat Akbari is in the mix for the next FIFA U-17 World Cup after being selected for an FFA Centre of Excellence scholarship.
Akbari, who scored 20 goals in last season’s U18 Boys competition, has relocated to Canberra where he will be closely mentored by Joeys coach Tony Vidmar.
The teenager impressed last year as part of the Brisbane Roar/QAS NTC squad after progressing through the junior ranks at Brisbane Strikers.
Based at the Australian Institute of Sport, the Centre of Excellence (CoE) squad competes in Capital Football’s PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues senior competition and the Foxtel National Youth League in summer.
Football Queensland State Technical Director David Abela, who has overseen Akbari’s development with Queensland’s National Training Centre, spoke highly about the teenager’s potential.
“Rahmat is a skilful player and has the ability to turn a game with his technical ability and good decision making,” Abela said.
“His ability to understand and read a game is at a very high level and has helped him stand out in games.
“Being in the CoE gives him an opportunity to work with the Australian (national youth team) coaches on a daily basis and a tremendous opportunity to be selected for the next U-17 World Cup.”
Born in Afghanistan, Akbari and his family migrated to Australia from Pakistan as refugees in 2005.
Abela believes recognition at the next level is deserved reward for a player who has overcome unique challenges.
“Rahmat has taken some time to get used to the next level of football but as soon as he really believed in himself we started to see his development flourish,” Abela said.
“He’s grown not only on the field but off it too and became a leader amongst the group.”
Akbari and his Centre of Excellence teammates will vie to be part of Australia's squad for September's AFC U-16 Championships, which acts as a qualifier for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.