After a good 25 years of grinding away in various Street/indoor/outdoor amateur level football games it’s refreshing to see a cause that lifts the lid on the talent that resides in it for the world to see.
Away from the indignity, the politics, the money and the pampered professional footballers, real obsession and entertainment comes right down to the streets and imperfect grass fields across the city, more specifically to the turf fields of the reawakened corners of the Dubai World Trade and Convention Center as Football Five’s World Championship (F5WC) Finals comes to Dubai.
You won’t see millionaire premiership players braving it out for 90 or so minutes but what you will see is a group of bonded men from 32 participating countries across 6 continents battle it out to be the best amateurs in the game. It’s grass (turf) roots stuff but in this case, the term is strictly abstract.
And it is interesting to see a brand like Ford in the Middle East to take a strong initiative in bringing this home. Analysts say the Middle East and Asia are the future of the game with younger amateurs and active players than ever, and hence the automaker has actively shown interest in being part of this promising rise of the game in the Middle East, according to Paul Anderson, Ford Middle East’s director of Marketing as it announced its partnership with the event yesterday.
“Ford believes in the universal language of football to instill values in the youth and to help them in their development, be it on the pitch or in their communities,” he said. “Through Football, the youth can learn a number of positive values, such as loyalty, commitment, teamwork, and respect for others.
Ex-Spanish international and a sort-of Dubai Sports Council ambassador Michel Salgado along with Legendary Emirati footballer AbdulRahman Mohammed (member of the squad that played in the 1990 World Cup) blessed the partnership with their support. Salgado was heard praising the initiative explaining the importance and the need to give talented youth an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have referring back to his younger days in Spain.
The opportunity for these 160+ individuals participating in the two-day event (June 13th-14th), is that multiple scouts from teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Hamburg and Juventus are expected to attend the finals. Can it get any better than this for an amateur? If only this existed a decade ago.
Ford had always acted as a responsible corporate citizen in the Middle East with known CSR initiatives surrounding environmental projects and breast cancer awareness campaigns among the few, but to recognize the need to develop and provide a positive platform for the growing younger population through football at an amateur level is just fantastic.