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The nocturnal football culture of Ramadan – bringing communities together

The nocturnal football culture of Ramadan – bringing communities together

By Mariam M.

Late-night football is something of a Ramadan hallmark in the Gulf. In the hours between iftar and suhoor on most nights of the holy month you can find people of all ages kicking a ball across the field on pitches throughout Qatar.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) is largely to thank for organizing and sponsoring various tournaments in the country and promoting these tournaments across the region.  

This year alone, the SC was meant to sponsor seven Ramadan tournaments. In a statement to the Gulf-Times, Ali Mahmoud, spokesman of the SC’s Community Engagement division, said, “We’re delighted to play a part in celebrating Qatar’s passion for football, particularly during the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

He went on to point out how it is part of their commitment to use the hosting of the 2022 World Cup to “promote local football culture and encourage healthy lifestyles.”

Unfortunately, the current Gulf crisis may have thrown a wrench in plans, and possibly a few more future endeavours if relations don’t improve. This winter's Gulf Cup of Nations is plausibly the first event to be cancelled, as four of the eight nations involved in the Gulf Cup of Nations have severed ties with Qatar.

However, football is not always such a formal affair, and that’s part of what makes it ‘the beautiful game’. Rich or poor, white-collar, blue-collar, or collar-less—the great game is for everyone. 

Prayer, fasting, tarawih, and finally a good bout of exercise and play are part of what makes Ramadan such a special month. A certain sense of camaraderie is forged on a football field, and in playing as part of team. Games that are usually limited to Fridays thanks to busy schedules can be enjoyed almost every night. There are many breaks from routine during Ramadan, but this is by far one of the best of them.

In such a time, it’s important to remember what brings people together, rather than what pulls them apart. So the next time you step out onto the field, know that a fellow player, having broken their fast, is doing the same across the border.

 

Photo Credit: darkroom.baltimoresun.com

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