Sports

My role as a soccer player and promoter in BC,Canada

1 July 2008 at 00:46 | 2699 views

Organized soccer playing among African-Canadians in British Columbia, Canada, is a relatively new phenomenon. It all started, according to our investigations, when a Congolese gentleman called Ray organized the first African soccer tournament in BC in the early 90s. Ray later passed the torch to two other prominent African-Canadians,Nasir and Jackson who courageously continued the organizing of this highly popular tournament until they passed the baton to soccer enthusiast Adebo Mahmoud in 1997. Adebo brilliantly executed his task with the aid of another soccer promoter Ocheng Lubayi until this year when everything was restructured with the creation of the African Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association(ACSCA)with an executive headed by Patrick Obaze. In this narrative, Adebo(pictured), who is part of the ACSCA executive, reflects on his role in BC’s soccer history:

My name is Adebo Mahmoud and I was born in Uganda. I have played soccer since I was three years old with other kids in my area. I played soccer all through my school years. I have been involved with soccer my whole life.

I came to Canada and started playing soccer at English Bay and at Mount Pleasant School and made lots of new friends. I then started playing with organized teams in local leagues.

I then decided to create an African team called "SIMBA SC". The team played and won the championship in the Spanish League Competition. SIMBA was a very good team. I was a very good player and coached at the same time. That was a big challenge.

The creation of Simba as an African soccer team helped develop better local African teams in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. I was one of the best coaches which resulted in three championship victories in the African Soccer Tournaments. The Ugandan team is the only team that has won three championships in the history of the African soccer tournament.

This is a transitional year where I am showing a new volunteer committee how to organize the tournament. I am happy to see that people are finally committing themselves to helping organize the tournament. My goal is to promote African Soccer and Culture in Canada and unite the African Community through the sport of soccer. I strongly encourage children to be involved with soccer and participate in the tournament. The veterans should participate to help be role models for the kids.

The African Soccer Tournament is a concept that was initiated in the early 90s through recreational soccer sporting activities and socialization among the African community. It was aimed at promoting interaction and unity. This initial activity quickly caught attention and started drawing more and more people who were interested and excited about the whole event. Before long, the tournament expanded and evolved into a steady and continuously structured social and community routine. So far, there has been at least 25 different teams that have participated.

One of the problems I have faced organizing the African Soccer Tournament is lack of commitment. Finding volunteers is always a problem. Due to this lack of commitment I found myself working with a few people overseeing the organizing of the tournament throughout the years. It was very hard work but this hard work brought success to the tournament. They are actually some opinionated people who do not want to be involved. Teams wait until it is close to the date of the tournament to register.

Some of my achievements have been keeping the tournament running for 11 consecutive years despite all the problems I have faced which makes the community happy and proud. Each year the tournament gets bigger and better. I hope I have helped develop unity and better co-operation amongst the teams and organizers. I have helped secure the trust of various donors and sponsors. The tournament brings families and children together for a weekend of great fun.

I want to see the new organizers keep this tournament going every year and run it with the same honesty, integrity and sportsmanship as it has always been. Organizing a tournament like this is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and commitment. It is a non-profit volunteer event where the reward is to have fun, to see people enjoy themselves and for others to learn about African soccer and culture. I appreciate all those dedicated people who have helped and volunteered in the past years.

I would like to also thank our sponsors and donors who have helped us in the past. Organizing a tournament is not about politics, ego or being important. It’s all about following through with commitment to make the tournament successful and bring peace and unity to everyone involved. Congratulations to everyone involved in the 14th Annual African Canadian Soccer & Cultural Association soccer tournament coming up in Burnaby on July 12-13 this year. Good luck and thank you to everybody involved.

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