Sudanese Student Selected to Play in 2022 World Cup Qualifiers
Wittenborg student Amro Abbas, from the HBA Sports Management bachelor's programme, has been selected to represent Sudan’s National Football team in the World Cup Qualifiers for Qatar 2022.
An early start to football
Abbas , 21, was born in Sudan but has lived most of his life in the UAE, until he came to study at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. Around the age of 7, he started to play football as his father took him to the local club of Al-Ain city, Al-Ain FC, in UAE. By the time he was 17, Amro had already played in the under-17 Sudanese football league, competing in tournaments against other African countries. He highlights the support given by the UAE Al-Ain FC as regards salary and schooling.
Sports versus higher education
Despite the support of his team, Amro had to decide on something that normally puts a lot of pressure on professional athletes: whether to dedicate his life to sports or to continue his study in higher education. He decided to pursue higher education, thus arriving in the Netherlands in October 2017 to study at Wittenborg. Nevertheless, he decided to keep playing football here in Europe.
Abbas is currently in his third year and has been living in Apeldoorn since his arrival 4 years ago. He plays with DVS’33 Ermelo, a team located in a town two hours away from Apeldoorn, and has training 3 times a week with friendly games on Saturdays. So far, he has played against recognised Dutch teams such as FC Twente and PEC Zwolle.
Spotted by Sudanese scout
Although Abbas thought that he would have to say goodbye to a career in football, life recently surprised him with amazing news: a Sudanese scout came from Sudan to the Netherlands to see him play. Abbas then went for 2 weeks to Sudan to train, and he was recruited. In three weeks’ time, he has to go to Sudan for practice before playing friendly games in June. Sudan belongs to group I of the World Cup Qualifiers. He is very optimistic about the experience and has great hopes of being part of this elite group of players.
Balancing studies with training
About his studies, Abbas points out that it has not been easy to manage both studies and football training. Before the COVID-19 crisis he would go from school to Ermelo, have his meal in the train, and would be back in Apeldoorn at 11 p.m. But now, thanks to the hybrid learning methodology, he can handle both activities better. For that reason, he thinks hybrid learning should be a more common option for athletes. Abbas particularly appreciates the support received from his teacher, Remy de Wit, who explained to him how the system in the Netherlands is, the football culture in the country, and suggested places for training. Furthermore, studying at Wittenborg has also helped him to improve his time management, and to build up a network in the football industry.
After graduating, Abbas hopes to work as a marketing expert or agent, but at the same time to keep being involved in football. He is open to staying in the Netherlands, but also to travel if his future job requires it. We wish him a lot of success!!
by Laura Serrano