Sabco Sports is joining hands with a new wave of youngsters to redefine the face of sports in Oman. Alvin Thomas reports on the new goals they have set to score.
When it comes to sporting heroes in the country, not many are as exalted as Oman’s national team goalkeeper Faiz al Rushaidi. “What does football mean to you?” we asked Faiz (who is now dubbed the “Superman”) in an interview following Oman’s Gulf Cup win, early this year.
His answer was direct: “It is my life and I have been striving to become the best to raise the name of our country to the top.” This just goes on to show the passion and fervour Faiz – and every other Omani sportsman and woman – has for sports. So, there’s little reason to doubt that the launch of Oman’s first and premier sports agency – Sabco Sports – will raise the bar and, subsequently, ‘redefine the face of sports’ in the country.
Soft launched at a highly exclusive event at the Laval Restaurant this week, Sabco Sports – with their highly specialised and motivated team – came forward to reveal the brand motto and schedule of events. “Sport is more than just playing,” said Nic Cartwright, the managing director of Sabco Sports. “It’s about experiencing the sport and building yourself and the country.
Sport has and always will be something that builds teams and strengthen communities. “Football is widely accepted as a sport in Oman – and it is amazing to know that there is about 60 per cent of interest locally in the sport,” he added, before making a startling revelation: Sabco Sports will be signing a deal with Faiz al Rushaidi this week.
This was followed by the introduction of Sabco 6’s professional league in Oman. The league will span over two seasons a year with six weeks of matches a season, and will feature six players per team and 12 teams per night. “The aim of Sabco 6’s is to introduce and establish contact with the Omani youth,” the managing director said.
All Sabco Sports events will be broadcast live online, too. But don’t for a second think that Sabco Sports are going to incorporate red-tape on their events. They’re already up and running, as was proved when they kicked off the National Obstacle Series on the day. Abbreviated quite simply as NOS, it already the largest inflatable obstacle series in the Middle East.
Ten events will be held every year and 1,000 participants are expected per event. Duncan D’Ewes, the chief business officer of the company, said: “Sabco Sports’ aim is not just incorporating professional sports. We aim to make a community impact by giving more players a chance to take part in competition sports.
“Our next goal is to get the people active and moving. As you know, diabetes is on the rise in Oman and more people are suffering from heart diseases. Just getting out of the homes and moving will help change that.” Apart from these two events (Sabco 6’s and NOS), Sabco Sports will also organise:
● The Oman International Cup – a multi-team international youth football tournament which will be held in the winter of 2018
● The Regional Cup – a talent hunt to find the best youth football team and talents in Oman which will be held in the autumn of this year ● The Academy League – a youth football league
● Adventure Racing – an obstacle course racing with mud races and various other challenging multidiscipline events
● Tough Mudder – a global obstacle race series which will commence later in 2018. The agency will also associate itself with events in sports such as golf, table tennis, cricket, desert marathon, desert dune race, etc.
Talking about the response from the venture, Nic emphasised: “The number of people coming and contacting us is fantastic. As part of the activities we are conducting, we went to schools around Oman and, to our surprise, several schools reverted that they needed opportunities such as these – and that they were grateful for this agency.”
In a short chat, Kunal Singh, the head of sales at the company, remarked: “Sabco Sports are leading the way with innovation. Such an agency definitely fits the love the people have for sports here in the country. At the same time, we also need to tap all the potential here. Sports need to be a greater part of school – and by doing that we will nurture the young talents into growing up to become great stars for this beautiful country.”