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Management Team

Ivan Bravo

Director General
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Mr. Ivan Bravo is the Director General of the Aspire Academy, based in Qatar.

In addition to his responsibilities at Aspire, Mr. Bravo is also the Technical Director of the Qatar Football Association (QFA).

Prior to joining the Aspire Academy, Mr. Bravo was Director of Strategy at Real Madrid CF, one of the world’s most accomplished sports institutions.

Recently, he has served on the board of directors of Leeds United football club in England and Cultural Leonesa football club in Spain. He currently sits on the board of AD Alcorcon, a football club in Spain’s La Liga 2.

Mr. Bravo received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the United States.

Ali Salem Afifa

Deputy Director General
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Ali Salem Afifa is Deputy Director General at Aspire Academy. One of the original and founding members of the Academy’s Management Group, Mr. Afifa continues to be an integral part of the institution. He leads a multidisciplinary team in charge of corporate functions in Finance, HR, and Operations.

Prior to joining Aspire, Mr. Afifa held various positions at the Qatar Football Association (QFA), including the post of General Secretary of the Technical Committee. He also serves as the Vice President of Al Rayyan Football Club, one of Qatar’s most successful professional football clubs.

Ali Salem Afifa’s dedication to football in Qatar is well-known and he continues to represent Qatar at several AFC (Asian Football Confederation) events. Prior to joining QFA, Mr. Afifa was Production Manager at Qatar Petroleum, Dukhan plant.

Mr. Afifa graduated from Manchester University, UK as a chemical engineer.

Badr Al-Hay

Director of Education and Student Affairs
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Mr. Al-Hay leads all educational programs at Aspire Academy. Prior to his appointment as Director of Education and Student Affairs, Badr served as the inaugural principal of the Academy with an outstanding track record and proven commitment to excellence.

In his role as Director of Education and Student Affairs, Mr. Al-Hay oversees all academic, life skills and social development programs of the Aspire Academy student-athletes.

Prior to joining Aspire, Mr. Al-Hay enjoyed a distinguished career in the education sector and was a deputy principal with the Qatari Ministry of Education. He began his career as a school teacher. His performance and commitment to development of young sport talent was recognized with honors by the deputy Minister of Education, Qatar.

Mr. Al-Hay received his B.A. in Geography and Planning from Qatar University.

Ali Sultan Fakhroo

Director of Corporate Services
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Ali Sultan Fakhroo was appointed Corporate Services Director in January 2015 after joining Aspire Academy in 2008 and holding several positions such as Finance Chief Officer and serving as Finance Manager for six years.

Prior to his employment at Aspire Academy he worked as Head of Oil & Gas Section and auditor for the State Audit Bureau as well as holding the position of the Head of Finance Section at the Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities.

He graduated with a Master in Accounting from the University of West Florida (USA) in 2000 and also holds a Bachelor in Accounting from the University of Qatar. Mr. Fakhroo is also a founding member of the Qatari Legal Accountant Association.

Professor Valter Di Salvo

Director of Football Performance & Science
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Besides being the Director of Football Performance & Science at Aspire Academy, Prof. Valter Di Salvo also holds the same position with the Qatar Football Association and Qatar Stars League.

Prof. Di Salvo’s career in football performance started 25 years ago. He worked with Serie A SS Lazio of Rome spending 14 years with coaches as Dino Zoff, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Alberto Zaccheroni and Roberto Mancini.

In 2003 he worked as fitness coach at Real Madrid before being recruited to join Sir Alex Ferguson’s staff for three years at Manchester United. He re-joined Real Madrid in 2007 where he was appointed the Director of Real Madrid TEC – the club’s high performance center which he created, developed and implemented.

During his career, Prof. Di Salvo has contributed to the success of these clubs in winning major trophies including the championship of Italian ‘Serie A’, the English ‘Premiership League’ and the Spanish ‘La Liga’ in addition to various national and international Cups. Prof. Di Salvo has trained many top players and several FIFA world player winners such as Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Nedved, Cannavaro, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Since 2001 he has been full-professor at University of Rome “Foro Italico” (IUSM). Prof. Di Salvo has also been the author of several scientific articles published in international journals and has been invited as a speaker and as a chairman at important scientific congresses.

Markus Egger

Director of Sport and Strategy
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Markus Egger, the Director of Sport and Strategy at Aspire Academy, has extensive experience in building, growing and managing international ventures in the sports industry.

For nearly 10 years, Markus Egger was with Red Bull – one of the world´s leading companies when it comes to leveraging sports to support growth and strength of a global brand. After assuming management responsibilities for Red Bull-owned teams in Formula 1, NASCAR, hockey and football, Egger served as General Manager of Red Bull´s Football Division. In this position, he led the company´s professional football clubs and academies in Brazil, Ghana, United States, Austria and Germany and was responsible for their strategy and performance, on both the sports and business sides.

During his tenure, the New York Red Bulls reached the finals of the Major League Soccer Cup for the first time in their history, Red Bull entered the German Football market with newly founded RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg became the first Austrian football club to win all their games in the group-stage of the Europa League.

Markus Egger, who also assumed different board-level positions with multinational companies outside the world of sports, holds a Master´s degree in Business Administration from universities in Austria and Spain.

On July 1, 2015 Markus Egger stepped into the role of Aspire Academy’s Acting Director of Sport, which later turned into a permanent position and made him Director of Sport and Strategy.

Edorta Murua

Technical Director Football Department
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Edorta Murua Zenarruzabeitia is the Technical Director of Aspire Academy’s Football Department. He joined the Academy in March 2017 after a two-year-long spell as Technical Director for Youth Football at Club Universidad de Chile. Prior to his job in South America he was the Director of the Training Methodology Department at Athletic Bilbao (2011 – 2015) and the Director of the High Performance Center at Atletico Madrid (2010 – 2011).

Between 1996 and 2007 he gained a lot of experience in coaching football teams in several categories such as Segunda Division B. Before shifting to coaching, he played professionally in Spain for clubs such as Athletic Bilbao, Real Ovideo and Elche CF. Mr. Zenarruzabeitia also holds an Information Science Degree from the Universidad del País Vasco.

Ward Abdullah

Manager of Marketing and Communications
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Ward Abdallah has extensive experience in media & communications, TV production and marketing in the sports industry, on local, regional and international levels.

For more than 22 years, Ward Abdallah has been a TV sport anchor and producer. He spent the last 10 years with Al Kass Sport Channels – one of the leading sport channels in Qatar and the region, where he won several international awards for his work, and also lead the news department for a certain time.

Before arriving in Qatar, Abdallah spent eight years at Abu Dhabi Sport Channel after having lead two different TV sports department in his home country Lebanon.

Ward Abdallah is also the Executive Director of ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition, which was inaugurated in 2010 in Aspire Dome.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Marketing).

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