April 21 2006
Playing Ball With Bibo
21/04/2006 - Egyptian football hero Mahmoud El-Khatieb, affectionately known as "Bibo", arranged a sports day on 14 April for children of SOS Children's Villages Egypt as part of the Egyptian "Orphan's Day". El-Khatieb is the official "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" ambassador for the Middle East and is active in the 6 villages for 2006 campaign.
The Egyptian football celebrity owns a football academy in El-Rehab, a suburb of Cairo. The sports day was held in the El-Rehab sporting club. More than 30 children and youth between the ages of ten and 14, from SOS Children's Village in Cairo and from the youth facilities in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta, participated in the event.
The SOS children played four short soccer matches with boys who attend El-Khatieb's academy, and El-Khatieb joined in the matches with the children and delighted them with a show of his football skills and talents. After the matches, the children from the both the football academy and SOS Children's Villages Egypt joined El-Khatieb for lunch at his football academy.
Following lunch, El-Khatieb awarded six of the best players a T-shirt in recognition for their efforts. The students from his academy presented the rest of the children from the SOS Children's Villages with a football for each child from SOS Children's Villages in Egypt. El-Khatieb also donated 30 t-shirts and shorts for the children of SOS Children's Villages Egypt who were unable to participate in the event.
Sherif Abdel Fattah, Youth Coordinator for SOS Children's Villages Egypt, and Ruth Badawi, Regional Advisor for Partnership and Participation and member of the 6 villages for 2006 task force, organised the event together with El-Khatieb. Abdel Fattah and youth leaders chose SOS children who demonstrated high academic and social achievements.
"One of the best things that happened is that these children from the village made new friends from a place other than the SOS Children's Villages," remarked Abdel Fattah. "I was pleased when I saw the boys all getting along so well, without any urging from anyone to be friendly."
The event received considerable press coverage and publicity. Several major Egyptian newspapers published articles about the sports day. In addition, El-Khatieb gave a television interview, excerpts of which were aired on El-Beit Beitak, a popular Egyptian Television talk show watched by millions. In the interview, El-Khatieb called on people to contribute to the 6 villages for 2006 campaign.
El-Khatieb was named "African Football Player of the Year" in 1983, during the time of his greatest fame. In March 2005, he was honored as an "African Legend", an award bestowed to Africa's greatest football players. He is currently vice president of El-Ahly, Egypt's largest football club, and a well-known and beloved figure throughout Egypt, known by his nickname "Bibo".
El-Khatieb represents the Middle East as a "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" ambassador. He actively participates in the 6 villages for 2006 campaign, a partnership between FIFA and SOS Children's Villages on the occasion of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany which will provide 800 orphans and abandoned children with a new home at six new children's villages - one each in Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Ukraine and Vietnam. A further 5,000 children and 1,000 families will benefit from new ancillary schools and social centres.