Abbas Al-Madoomi:  The Need For More Support and  More Training Centers is Urgent [Archives:1999/16/Sports]

April 19 1999

The Youth and Sports Office in Sanaa is suffering a lot of problems that are creating obstacles to any improvements of sports in Yemen. Not only is this the case in Sanaa, but it is the case in all other areas in the republic. Many sportsmen are complaining about the mismanagement and the poor position of sports in the current government. They are dissatisfied with the insignificant budget allocated by the Ministry of Sports for sports activities. This leads to a deteriorating level of sports in Yemen as a whole, and particularly for athletic sports, which are not given enough attention. 
Abbas Al-Madoomy, the manager of the Youth and Sports Club in Sanaa is a young and ambitious person. He is trying hard and struggling to achieve the best he can in spite of the lack of financial resources, and other important elements. His only option in trying to improve the sports services, is only workable if he concentrates on the sports events that he handles, and works very hard for their success. 
In an interview with Yemen Times, Mr. Al-Madoomi explained his ambitions, and the problems, role, and ambitions of his office in all details. 
Q: How do you assess the role of the Capital Secretariat Sport Office ( CSSO) compared with the other offices in the governorates in developing sport activities? 
A: Given its near location from the main headquarters of decision making in the Capital, the CSSO plays an important role in improving sport activities not only in the Capital but in the whole Yemen. The office is closely related to the different Sports Clubs based in Sanaa. The office has paid a number of field inspections visits to these clubs and has found them facing many problems. Take for example Alwahda Club, one of the leading clubs in Sanaa. Yet this club doesn’t have even the minimum required number of halls and playing fields. Al-Zuhra Club is also struggling to take possession of its state-granted land and now this Club has been warned to move from its present location. The situation is not much better with Al-Sha’ab, or Al-Majid Clubs. However there are Clubs which have their own resources and therefore were able to build their sport facilities. Al-Ahli of Sanaa is doing very well in this regard thanks to its excellent administration. Al-Yarmouk comes second as a self financed sports club. Other clubs like Hemyer, Kadissya and Majd are fighting to survive because some tribes often occupy their own pieces of land. It is bad to see the youths playgrounds turned into battlefield. 
Q: What are the steps you have been taking to improve the situation? 
A: We have submitted some proposals to the Minister of Youth and Sports and we are working on bringing them into effect. The most important proposal is the construction of training centers for the different sports. These centers would be covering several governorates and the Sport Unions would supervise them. In fact the costs of such construction are not very high and they can be financed through Youth and Sport Assistance Fund. I think this step is the right one to begin with. 
Q: Is there coordination with the Ministry of Education to back sports infrastructure through arranging joint sport activities and School competitions? 
A: When Dr. Yahya Shu’aybi became Minister of Education he did a lot of coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to refresh School Sports. In many countries in the world school is the first cell for sport activities. Many of the world famous athletes were discovered first in schools. In the Capital Secretariat, we did some cooperation with School Activity Department in the Ministry of Education and we were able to discover a number of different games. Some of them have already become members of national teams in sports like basketball, boxing and others. 
Q: How do you overcome the problem of inavailability of sufficient stadiums and sports halls? 
A: Well, we train in shifts, with evening and morning classes. In spite of our limited resources, our ambition knows no limits. Sport has not improved even after forming the Ministry of youth and sports. Sportsmen suffer from this carelessness, they need to be sponsored. We are quite optimistic about the future. 
Q: What is the role of the Youth Aid Fund in developing sports? 
A: Frankly speaking, the fund carries out many good projects for clubs all over the country. At the moment they are concentrating on establishing commercial projects for clubs to help them finance their activities and become self-sufficient. But if you look at the Yemeni sports in general, it is a very sad story. We hope the sports minister will respond to the importance of building sports complexes, and encourage young people to make use of these complexes, so that we can have a good base of young sportsmen, who will be the future champions of Yemen. Young people should become our first priority, if we really want to uplift the standards of Yemeni sports. 
Q: Do you think foreign coaches and trainers are the solution to promote Yemeni champions? 
A: You see, even if we try to bring the best coaches in the world he will not be able to do anything to lift up the spirit of our players. Sincere efforts by our sports authorities, such as giving the sportsmen the care and the attention they deserve can do wonders. We have to provide players with basic facilities first. What can a good coach do if he doesn’t have fit players and no proper place and facilities to train them? Many of our promising young sportsmen leave their clubs for financial reasons. For example, I was the General Secretary of the Table Tennis Association in 1985, during that period we had real champions, like Ahmed Zaid, Ahmed Zubara, Al-Damari and Ali Qassem, all these people won golden and silver medals in the Arab competitions. Today we participate for the sake of participating, and not to compete and win. 
Q: Is there enough support for the centers activities? 
A: Each sport association gets YR. 10,000 to hold activities and organize tournaments. This amount does not cover the players’ transport cost, so what do you expect? Now you can imagine where Yemeni sport is going!