The rise of Ramadan football competitions: from Cairo’s streets to the greatest Arab clubs


Football competitions have been among the most well-liked Ramadan-related special events in Egypt for more than 25 years.

They started when friends would get together to plan games so they could indulge their enthusiasm for the sport and demonstrate their prowess. Yet, as time went on, they became more structured and professional, sometimes even catching the attention of significant sponsors.

It is possible to trace the development of these Ramadan soccer games back over the years to its modest beginnings in Cairo neighborhoods before they spread to other regions of the nation and subsequently the rest of the Arab world.

According to Mohammed El-Sayed, a sports journalist for the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar El-Youm, “the Ramadan football games first started in the streets of the city, where players had to be self-reliant.”

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Inside each region, the young people would set up their own teams and rounds. They used the streets as their stadium; they didn’t wear uniforms because the team’s cohesiveness was enough. Football competitions during Ramadan used to take place right before iftar. Children and young adults crowded around to watch matches that young people had in the streets during that time since it was so calm.

One of the most well-known players that competed in Ramadan events in the 1990s was Hatem Hussein, a.k.a. Mizo.

The competition was fierce as he remarked, “I was playing in the streets (at the time) and we were all really ready to play. We always used the knockout match format: the team that defeated every opponent it faced up until the end of the competition was declared the winner. The awards were symbolic and reflected the initial entry cost that the teams paid.” Both the second and third-place finishers received a full sports kit.



Sulaiman keeps an important eye on domestic and international politics while he has mastered history.

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