Rachel Corrie Eighth Tournament for Young Men
The eighth edition of Rachel Corrie football tournament was brought to a successful conclusion on Wednesday. The 2015 tournament has witnessed stunning success, and is widely considered the best of all the tournaments held since 2008. Several reasons have led to the success of this tournament, which the media people and observers in the Gaza Strip considered as the most powerful tournament for the year in Gaza Strip, most noticeably by the strength of the participating teams and the huge audience attendance which exceeded all previous records. This was made possible by the excellent organization, quality of attention to details, and smooth financial administration element under the supervision of the Women’s Program Center – one of the most important reasons for success since the start of the tournament in the fifth of Ramadan until the final in 21st of the same month; a very tight window for financial oversight.
Preparations and participating teams
The working committees, especially the committee coordinators, began working hard on processing and preparing for the tournament a week before the start, launching immediately into a media campaign conducted by the Media Committee, arranging a contract between the host club ( Al – Khadamat Club ) and the partner this year ( Women Program Center ). Preparations were begun on all publications and advertisements and their placement inside the stadium for the tournament, as well as the start of the teams registration process and preparing the draw which was held in an orderly way and with the participation of the best teams. 45 teams registered in addition to the 16 teams who have qualified to the second round of last year’s tournament, so a draw was conducted amongst these to select final 16 teams participating in the tournament. The draw was held publicly four days before the tournament start. Finally 32 teams participated: the equivalent to 320 players and 32 coaches.
The working committees in the tournament
The working committees in the tournament were formed according to the administrative vision for the success of this tournament, based on lessons learned from the strengths of the past seven editions of the tournament. Therefor, the Supreme Committee , the Administrative Committee , the Technical Committee , the Public Relations Committee , Media committee, Order and logistic Committees were formed. The number of working people in all the committees was 26 persons that worked energetically throughout the tournament. Each person attended to their duties diligently according to his specialty right through to the end of the tournament; their dedication and hard work culminating in the final day in the best possible way .
The audience and the tournament
The great audience attendance brought enormous energy to the tournament, giving the matches more excitement and character. The audience considered the timing of the beginning of the games – after prayer in the evening – as the perfect time to find relief by escaping from these hard circumstances that they live in, such as threat of bombing, daily energy blackouts, and high humidity. Also they considered their attendance as a way to express their feelings and loyalty towards the spirit of Rachel Corrie as found in this tournament every year. The number of attendees in every game of the tournament has exceeded more than 2,500 spectators, with attendance at the opening ceremony and the final game exceeded 3,500. In total the 16 games saw and estimated 40,000 fans attending this tournament.
Media follow up
The tournament this year has achieved a large media coverage during the 16 days of the tournament, thanks to the efforts of the media crew who worked to keep media sources at the highest level informed by sending daily reports, photos, and audio recordings. They encouraged all media to spread the events of the tournament on their pages, and a daily update were presented on the tournament page on Facebook. This was a really was an important and effective factor in attracting followers of the tournament and inform them of all that is new about the tournament.
The final day
” Hamama ” team was crowned as the champion of the Rachel Corrie eighth edition tournament after defeating ” Kratia ” team 2-0 in a very exciting game which witnessed the attendance of a great audience and a very special array of guests who came to watch the final day of a great event organized by the Rafah Services Club in partnership with the Women Program Center – Rafah , with funding from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.
The participation of VIPs
One of the great things which happen in this edition of the tournament was the largest participation of sports and civic leaders and representatives of institutions gathered so far in recognition of the tournament. Attending on the opening and the final days of the tournament, these notable personalities included Deputy Ashraf Gom’a, member of the Legislative Council, and the son of the Palestinian Prime Minister and the member of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Abd Al – Salam Hanya . Also in attendance was the presence of a large number of heads of clubs in the Gaza Strip, representatives of the Municipality of Rafah,the Football Association and civil community institutions .
Persons who received special recognition
Rafah Services Club
Women’s Programs Center
Best Sportsman: Alaa Ismael
Best Goalkeeper : Mahmoud Al – Jazzar
Top Scorer : Mohammed Abu Dan
Member of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports : Abd Al – Salam Hanya
Member of the Legislative Council : Ashraf Jom’a
Palestinian Football Federation
Rafah police station
Technical Committee official : Hani Abu Kush
Media committee coordinator : Mustafa Gaber
Technical Supervisor : Eyad Hammad
Establishing the Rachel Corrie tournament has many positive effects in the Gaza Strip :
Providing sources of income for workers .
Encouraging physical activity, especially beginners .
Help in the discovery and the development of new talents .
Revitalization of the local economy .
Strengthen the relationship between people of the Gaza Strip and Olympia .
Provide relief to the psyches of players suffering under the stress of the siege on Gaza .
Reinforcing the concept of return for the younger generations .
Promote a positive view of Western societies away from politics .
Provide entertainment for the audience and the fans.
Keep the memory of Rachel Corrie and her support of the Palestinian people alive in the minds of the people of Gaza, especially the young.
Many thanks to all the people who have donated to suport this tournament, which has become one of the most important events in Ramadan and an event which the people of Gaza eagerly await for it every year .
With all that has been mentioned, all goals that were defined before the tournament were successfully accomplished in a perfect way at the highest level of quality in work. And these successes will be the foundation of our planning next year to improve the tournament and make it much better.
Lead Tournament Coordinator