By Sports Reporter/Doha
Hundreds of football-loving workers from across Qatar are set to compete in the fifth edition of Doha’s annual Workers Cup, the much anticipated seven-week football tournament organised by the Qatar Stars League (QSL) and sponsored by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
This year’s tournament will see over 600 players compete in 32 teams — an increase on the 24 teams that battled it out for glory last year. Taleb Group, 2016’s surprise winners who won the trophy in their debut tournament, are also re-entering the competition to defend their title.
The tournament kicks-off at 6:45pm on Friday at Qatar Sports Club when Nakheel Landscapes will face off against Bin Omran Trading & Contracting. Both companies have competed in previous editions of the Cup.
The tournament’s showpiece final will be played on March 31. General admission for every Workers Cup match is free and everyone is welcome to attend and cheer on the competing teams.
The competing teams are made up of players from local and international construction companies operating in Qatar, many of whom are working on the country’s largest infrastructure projects as well as SC projects linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This year will see 15 teams linked to the SC compete at the tournament. They consist of 11 former and current contractors engaged in World Cup projects and four teams engaged with the SC’s flagship CSR programme, Generation Amazing.
The Workers Cup has grown in size and stature in recent years, with over 11,000 fans packing the stands at the Al-Ahli Sports Club Stadium for the 2016 tournament final. Last year, the competition also earned the praise of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UN secretary general for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, both of whom were impressed by the healthy competition and camaraderie the Workers Cup instils in participants.
Fatma al-Nuaimi, SC Communications director, said of this year’s edition of the tournament: “The SC is proud to be supporting the Workers Cup for a fifth year given the joy it brings to both those who participate and their colleagues and friends who attend as fans. We are confident the 2017 edition will be as effective as previous tournaments have been in uniting Qatar’s diverse migrant communities into one footballing community, demonstrating this sport’s power to bridge cultural differences and bring people together.
“We are enormously grateful to the millions of people who have come to Qatar to help us prepare for the tournament and meet the country’s development objectives, as outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030. This tournament forms just one part of the SC’s efforts to ensure the 2022 FIFA World Cup leaves a lasting legacy of enhanced health and well-being for everyone contributing to Qatar’s growth.”
Hassan al-Kuwari, executive director, Marketing and Communications of QSL, added: “Football is for everyone and the Workers Cup is just one of the ways we make sure that every member of Qatar’s vibrant sporting community has an opportunity to play football if they wish to, whether it’s to keep healthy, meet new people or show off their skills.
“The popularity of the tournament is testament to the positive impact it has on the local community and I’m proud to be able to give back to the people preparing this country for the future in such an impactful way. The passion shown by the players and the fans in previous tournaments is great to see and I’m looking forward to another fun but competitive tournament over the coming weeks.”
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