SATUC World Cup: Egypt Prepares to Host Football Tournament for Underprivileged Children from Across the World
Whether watching the fierce local rivalry between Cairo giants Al Ahly and Zamalek, cheering for the national team in the African Cup of Nations, or adopting a temporary nationality during the World Cup because the aforementioned Egyptian team failed to qualify (again), there are few things that bring Egyptians, and Arabs, together more than football. Many continue to dismiss football as a money-making machine of a game that produces unworthy, ungrateful millionaires, football has been proven time and time again to transcend social and cultural differences – and there aren’t many other institutions that can claim that. It’s this exact spirit that is set to see Egypt host one of the most unique events in Cairo this year: The SATUC Football World Cup.
Founded out of a belief in the power of sports as a key element for social development, Qatari Princess Sheikha Althani’s Sheikha Althani for Underprivileged Children (SATUC) in 2013. Officially a registered Egyptian charity working out of Cairo and London, the group has been involved in a host of different initiatives, with the SATUC World Cup being among the most celebrated. The football tournament will see underprivileged children from all over the world competing in a series of six-a-side matches at Cairo International Stadium starting August 30th.
The participants of the three-day competition include refugees, orphans and the underprivileged who share a passion for football and who are travelling abroad for the very first time. Teaming up 14 and 15 year old boys from countries including Egypt, England, Syria, Philippines, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and the Ivory Coast, the squads of 8 players and two adults will represent their home countries at the opening ceremony of the SATUC competition.
The tournament will be held amidst the presence of official ambassadors; including the President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández, the First Lady of Colombia, María Clemencia Rodríguez de Santos, former manager of the Egyptian national team Hassan Shehata, the most capped international player in history of Egyptian football, Ahmed Hassan, former Egyptian goalkeepers Ahmed Shobair and Nader El Sayed, Moroccan midfielder Aziz Bouderbala, Oman’s FA Cup winning goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, double Premier League winning Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, as well as many other figures from the world of football.
Hosting the opening ceremony at the SATUC World Cup is former senior BBC News and Sport Executive and former Head of Sport at Channel 4, Andrew Thompson, with the opening ceremony and press conference being held on Saturday 29th August 2015 at Fairmount Heliopolis Hotel and Towers.
The tournament is just one facet of SATUC’s work, as they battle to empower underprivileged children by equipping them with the social, academic and sporting skills they need to excel in life and it’s perhaps Sheikha Althani’s personal passion for football and her belief that it conquers social barriers that was the driving force behind establishing SATUC.
“It is not just a game,” the official SATUC World Cup website reads. “We are changing lives.”