Generation Amazing ambassador Xavi offers kids a memorable treat
02 Oct 2016 - 1:38
DOHA/AMMAN: Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) Generation Amazing ambassador Xavi passed by a local school in Amman, Jordan, on Friday as visibly awed kids were in for a treat they couldn’t have imaged. Spending two hours on a pitch with Xavi Hernandez, one of the world’s greatest ever players, was a dream come true for them.
It was debatable who enjoyed the experience the most. The man who has swept the board during a glittering career that has seen him win the FIFA World Cup, the Champions League and everything in between. Or the teenage boys and girls who stepped into the early morning sunshine for a training session with Xavi.
One-by-one, the former F.C. Barcelona star shook hands with the Generation Amazing ambassadors.
“Hi, I’m Xavi” he said, as if the star-struck kids in front of him were meeting a friend for the first time.
It was moments like these that summed up the humility of a global icon, a legendary player who has been brought on board by the SC to represent the Generation Amazing programme.
“He’s the perfect man for the job,” saidHassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the SC.
“He understands exactly what we are trying to do here and is able to do it because of his humility and love for the game. Today is exactly what the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is about – using football to make a difference to the people who really need it,” he added.
The unique aspect of this football session was the fact Xavi was being coached by the kids. He followed their lead on stretches, took their direction at coaching drills and listened as they motivated and encouraged one another.
He sat for more than 30 minutes, answering questions about his career, Qatar and what he thought of football in the Middle East. And even the one question people will never tire of asking.
“Messi is the best player in the world,” he smiled and answered again. At the heart of the morning session was Hadeel Al-Thamane, a Generation Amazing ambassador from 2014. Her experience in the programme gave her a leadership role, with respect for her coming from the other, younger ambassadors.
“Generation Amazing changed my life. It gave me self-esteem and belief and allowed me to experience things I never thought possible. One of those things is meeting Xavi. It is surreal he’s here today.”
Ashraf Salameh went toe-to-toe with the great Xavi, trading tricks and flicks in front of the watching crowd.
“I can’t believe I got the opportunity to do that, to play with Xavi,” he grinned. “It was a special moment for me. I love football and I love Xavi.”
“We always try and take something away from these experiences,” said Melodie Arts, the Generation Amazing project manager for Right to Play – the NGO partnered with the SC to deliver Generation Amazing programmes.
“One team just lost a game of football but we want to find out what we can learn from that. So we sit and we go through it.”
“The last few days have been fantastic,” said Isabel Gultresa, CSR Senior Manager at the SC.
“We have anticipated this moment for a long time. Seeing Xavi finally come on board and engage with our ambassadors – and also become one himself – was a unique experience.”