On the Ball: Look forward to the Muscat Prominent Cup

Lifestyle Tuesday 31/January/2017 16:39 PM
By: Times News Service
On the Ball: Look forward to the Muscat Prominent Cup

Do you know Saif Al Mughairy? No? Well, neither did I, until a couple weeks ago, when he strolled into our office and told us about the Muscat Prominent Cup, like it was something that happened every day.
Well, it doesn’t. The Muscat Prominent Cup is a 7-a-side football tournament that takes place every February, and has since 2013. Truth be told, it’s something lovers of the beautiful game in the Sultanate have been crying out for.
Saif’s already roped in 12 teams, but he’s hoping to expand that to 16 before the tournament kicks off on the 9th of February. Some of them do have a few professional footballers plying their trade during the tournament, but most of them are made up of rank amateurs who are just looking to hone their skills and have a good time.
Players from football clubs based in the Dhofar region have signed up to play for the aptly named Professional FC and Real Madrid FC, the latter of which is named after a certain Spanish club which happens to have the same name.
Teams that are looking to enter the tournament, which takes place at the Seeb Stadium the weekend after this one, will need to pay up an entry fee of OMR 100, but there is an OMR 250 pot – and a shiny trophy – that comes the way of the team that wins the tournament.
To enter, all you need are 10 players, a sportsman’s spirit and the will to win. Saif’s already gotten several sponsors on board, including the Polyglot Institute, who will be entering a team of their own, as will the National Bank of Oman, as well as Arabian Printers and Mohammed Barwan Petroleum. But hosting a football tournament goes far beyond finding the pitch to play on and the players who will step out onto it. Saif has also gotten in touch with the Muscat Club and they will be providing referees for the two-day tourney, which runs from one to four in the afternoon and features halves of 15-minutes each.
Off the pitch, the opening ceremony will feature Tanzanian singing sensation MB Dogg, who’s become something of a phenomenon in his native country and the rest of East Africa. He’s agreed to perform at the Muscat Prominent Cup as a personal favour to Saif: the two of them went to university together in Johannesburg and have been friends ever since.
But that in a nutshell is what football is all about: it’s the personal connections that make the game what it is today. Strip away the wall-to-wall television coverage, the gentrification of stadiums and the multi-million dollar sponsorship endorsements and you see the eccentricities and the mannerisms both on the pitch and off it that make footballers such polarising subjects of discussion.
And that’s the sort of connection this tournament is trying to forge from the ground up. The Muscat Prominent League is a great way to incentivise more people to join organised football leagues in Oman at grass root level, which are open to the public.
Because truth be told, there is precious little you can do to play organised football in Oman, the sort of sport that is played nearly every day in footballing hotbeds across Europe, Africa and South America, and sees hordes of scouts watching the next generation of players ply their craft on the pitch with an eagle eye. It is this incentive, this ray of hope that shines on people achieving the (nearly) impossible dream of playing in some the world’s most popular leagues at some of the globe’s biggest stadiums that keeps people turning up to play at tournaments like these. That, and the passion, love and dedication to football they all possess. To know more about the Muscat Prominent Cup, call Saif on + 968 9566 3692. [email protected]