(MENAFN) For over 25 years, football tournaments have been an integral part of the special events in Egypt associated with the holy month of Ramadan. These tournaments began as casual gatherings of friends who shared a passion for the game, wanting to showcase their skills. However, over time, they have become more organized and professional, even attracting major sponsors.
The growth of Ramadan soccer competitions can be traced back to their humble beginnings in the neighborhoods of Cairo. From there, they expanded to other parts of Egypt and eventually to the Arab world. They moved from the streets to youth centers and then to major sports clubs.
According to Mohammed El-Sayed, a sports journalist with the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar El-Youm, the Ramadan football tournaments started in the streets of the capital. Players had to be self-reliant, and youths from different regions would organize their own teams and rounds within each region. There were no uniforms involved, and the team unity alone was enough.
In the past, Ramadan football tournaments were played immediately before iftar. Young people took advantage of the quiet streets during that time to hold matches, while children and young adults gathered around to watch them as a form of entertainment.
One of the best-known players who participated in Ramadan tournaments during the 1990s is Hatem Hussein, also known as Mizo. He recalls playing in the streets and how eager they were to compete against each other. The competition was strong, and they always adopted the knockout matches method - the team that eliminated all its competitors until the end of the tournament would be considered the winner.
These Ramadan football tournaments have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Today, they are major sports events that attract thousands of fans and generate significant revenue. They are a testament to the passion Egyptians have for football and the spirit of community that the holy month of Ramadan fosters.
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