Sheikha Al Thani’s Speech at the Match Draw
When the first Suez Canal was opened in 1869 the rules of football were only 6 years old – and it was to be another 53 years before the first Egyptian Cup was held. By contrast, the amazing New Suez Canal opened this month – and the SATUC World Cup was being held just 23 days later! I would like to start by thanking everyone in this room and many others who were not able to join us. The SATUC World Cup is a dream that has been made real because of the astonishing vision, work and generosity of so many people who have partnered with us to make this day happen. We thank our sponsors and ambassadors; our volunteers and our guests; the media and the logistical teams, and all the charities, organisations and footballing legends from around the world who have helped us to organise the trials and the teams. And we thank the players and their representatives for traveling to Cairo to join us in this first ever SATUC World Cup. The SATUC World Cup 2015 is a 5 aside football competition for 15 year old boys, many of whom are orphans or refugees. The matches will played across three days at Cairo’s Indoor Stadium. 8 nations have sent squads of 8 players and 2 adults, and the players have all been selected after a series of trials organised by charities or national associations in each country. EGYPT With the assistance of the Ministry of Solidarity, football trials were held across Egypt before 175 finalists took part at a final trial in Cairo in April. Two of Egypt’s footballing greats, SATUC Honorary President Hassan Shehata and 2015 SATUC Cup Honorary President Ahmed Hassan helped select the final squad. We are delighted that the team’s ambassadors include legendary Egyptian football names Nader El Sayed, Hassan Shehata, Ahmed Shobair, Shawky Gharib, Hady Khashaba, Hazeem Emam, Emad Moteab, Emad Al Nahhas, Ahmed Elmohamady, Shikabala, Magdy Abdel Ati and Osama Hosny, ALGERIA The Algerian squad have been selected by The National Commission for the Promotion of Health and the Development of Research in Algeria. The organisation provides care for those orphaned as a result of conflict and currently provides for over 4000 children and they have as their supporting ambassador the great Algerian striker and manager, Rabah Madjer. ENGLAND Our English squad have been organised by the London based community football organisation ‘2 Touch Rulz’. Their trials took place throughout the early summer across England’s capital city. IVORY COAST The squad from the Ivory Coast were selected by their former international striker and SATUC World Cup ambassador Abdoulaye Traore The boys live in orphanages in the coastal city of Abidjan. MAURITANIA The Mauritanian squad were selected by The Sport and Culture Association of Riyadh which was established in 1998. The association focuses on developing children at different ages through sports, especially football. MOROCCO Former Moroccan midfielder Aziz Bouderbala is an ambassador for the SATUC World Cup and the squad from his country have been selected by the Moroccan Children’s Trust, which works to achieve sustainable development for young people and their communities in South Morocco. PHILIPPINES The Philippines team have been drawn from across the nation and are supervised by Coach Patrina Caceres on behalf of the Football for Life project. SYRIA The team from Syria are all refugees from the current conflict who are now living in Egypt. The squad has been organised by the Syria Al Gad Relief Foundation through Syria Relief foundation based in London, and former Syrian striker Firas Al Khatib is one of our ambassadors. In addition, we at SATUC are privileged that our international footballing ambassadors include Honduras’s manager Jorge Luis Pinto, Oman’s Ali Al-Habsi and Hani Al-Dhabit, Jordan’s Ahmed Hayel, Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, former Sudanese captain Haitham Mustapha, Iraq’s Nashat Akram, Saudi Arabian stars Fuad Andwar and Sami Al Jaber and Kuwaiti players Khaled Al Fadhli and Bashar Abdullah. We are very happy that for the next few days these talented young men were able to leave behind whatever challenges they have had to overcome as they have a week of playing football, being coached, meeting new friends from around the world and getting the opportunity to see the amazing city of Cairo.And this is what SATUC is really about, giving children and young people the chance to dream bigger and think bigger than their immediate horizons; to give the gift of confidence and aspiration. I was fortunate to grow up with all the luxuries any child yearns for. However, as I grew older, I started to realise that these meant nothing to me unless they were shared with others. That is why we created the SATUC World Cup. So that we could give young people from around the world a life changing opportunity to take part in a unique new sporting event. We chose football because it’s the most global sport on the planet and is arguably the most universal language ever created. We could go anywhere in the world and drop a ball on the ground and almost any other person would know exactly how to respond. So the focus of our attention for the next few days should be on one thing only. The teams of boys who have gathered here from 8 different nations to play in the first ever SATUC World Cup – and I hope that they have a fantastic experience – and may the best team win!