In one group, the Americans will take on the Turkish, while the British will face the Italians. This is not a rerun of the First World War, but the Mini Mundial football tournament in Cairo and the teams are from the respective countries’ embassies.
And it’s not just embassies; the Sawy Culture Wheel has a team in the competition, so does the German Goethe institute and even the oil company Shell.
All of them have gathered at the Gezira Youth Center to participate in our very own local world cup. The tournament kicked off on Nov. 30 and the gripping finale will take place Dec. 14.
For the winners there is the cup, and for all those that participated a plaque to commemorate the event, and more importantly, a new list of contacts that will be alongside you in future social projects.
The Mini Mundial is the brainchild of Ashraf Al Awamla, co-owner of event organizing company Icons. Awamla, who is Syrian, told Daily News Egypt “I’ve been in Egypt for a year, before that I was working in the Spanish Embassy in Damascus and I helped organize this tournament for two consecutive years. So when I came here, I told my Egyptian partner about it and we got in touch with the Minister of Youth.
The minister promised to provide the pitches, and Awamla invited embassies and other organizations to participate.
Besides the fun on the pitch, Awamla believes the real gain of the tournament is the mutual cooperation that can be had off it.
“It (the competition) brings people closer together, you form relations with them and tomorrow you can do other activities with them, such as with the Sawy cultural center for example. We all need each other and we all need to know each other, he said.
“It can drive us to further campaigns, Awamla added, “such as gathering and organizing 50,000 volunteers to clean up Cairo with the cooperation of the Ministry of the Environment. There are a lot of activities that can be done in the area of social responsibility, and I assure you, many people in Egypt are willing to pay if you are honest and have credibility.
The competition is played on progressive weekends (Fridays and Saturdays in Egypt) over three weeks with the exception of the final tournament week, where the semi-finals and final will be played on the Friday, Dec. 14.
Kickoff time for the first game is at 2 pm and the football flows until 10 pm, with each game typically lasting an hour. The 12 teams are split into two groups and they play each other once with the top three from each group qualifying to two further groups for the semi-finals.
The final is decided between the winners of the two semi-final groups.
So while there can only be one winner on the pitch, off it everybody can be a winner, provided they band together in future cooperation for projects that will benefit the community.
Awamla intends this to be an annual event.