Minutes before the fifth edition of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & legacy (SC)-sponsored Workers' Cup officially got underway on Friday in front of almost 6,000 spectators, African pop music boomed around the Qatar Sports Club Stadium and a group of Ghanaian players burst into a spontaneous dance in the stands.
Their team, Doha Pest Control Company (DPC), had lost to 2016 semi-finalists Larsen & Toubro in their first group game earlier in the day. Yet that did not stop them enjoying the occasion as the tournament, organised by the Qatar Stars League (QSL), resumed with all the passion seen when 11,000 fans witnessed the Workers’ Cup 2016 final in May.
“Football is everything for us, we love playing it and watching it,” explained Joseph Gyasi, a striker in the DPC side. “Playing well in the Workers’ Cup gives us pride and the tournament also gives us enormous entertainment as fans.”
After the SC’s Assistant Secretary General Nasser Al Khater had officially opened the tournament along with the Qatar Stars League CEO Hani Balan, the Nakheel Landscapes team put on a fine display, beating the Bin Omran Trading & Contracting L.C.C. side 8-0.
“The Workers’ Cup is grassroots football at its best,” Al Khater told www.sc.qa. “We see pure passion in the stands and on the pitch.”
And nobody embodied the
passion more than Gyasi and his DPC teammates. “Life is short and we need to
enjoy whatever football we can pack into it,” he said with a smile. “Football
teaches us workers to be optimistic.”
He added: “I am sure we will stage a comeback by winning both our remaining group games.”
Despite the heavy defeat, BOTC manager Mohammad Malek too struck the same note of optimism. “Playing in the iconic Qatar SC stadium, which has staged a lot of prestigious tournaments, is a once-in-lifetime experience for my team,” said Malek, who is originally from India. “I am thankful to the SC and QSL for making this possible through the Workers Cup.”
The star of the evening, Nakheel’s five-goal forward Mahamat Aboubakar, clearly enjoyed the experience. “This is unbelievable, to be able to play in a great stadium and score five goals in front of nearly 6,000 people. I am speechless,” said the man from Chad.
His coach, Sami Majzoub, was equally pleased: “It was an honour for us to play – for the second year running – in the game after the opening ceremony, with all these fans watching. And to win again, this time by a bigger margin, was fantastic,” he said, referring to their 5-0 triumph on the opening day of the Workers’ Cup 2016.
"I hope we go on to achieve bigger things this year. I want my team to play in the final in front of 15,000 people and win,” he concluded with a smile.