Monday 18 December 2023, 13:00

Volunteers making FIFA Club World Cup™ a family affair

  • Nader Aljezani and daughters Sara and Yara are volunteering at the 2023 tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • FIFA World Cup 2022™ trip to Qatar inspired family to join 400-strong volunteer team

  • “I love meeting new people, forging friendships, and gaining experience,” says Sara, 19

For the football-mad Aljezani family, volunteering at the FIFA Club World Cup 2023™ is a unique opportunity to share their passion for the beautiful game with each other and the thousands of fans from all over the world attending matches in Saudi Arabia. Nader Aljezani, and daughters Sara and Yara, are all part of the 400-strong volunteer team at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah. Long-standing supporters, the trio were inspired to step out of their role as fans following a trip to watch their country at last year’s FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar. “We were at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, and it was an awesome event. But we were there as supporters and not as volunteers. After which, honestly, we wanted to be part of any volunteering program organised by FIFA,” explained Yara, 21, a bank employee who has volunteered at the Jeddah marathon in the past. “Our passion for football also grew when we learned of this volunteering program. We wanted to participate and thankfully we were able to make our dream come true.”

“[My wife and I] encourage the girls. I’ve encouraged them to participate in all volunteering programs for a long time,” added Nader. “We’ve taken part in many volunteering programs, and we participated at the last FIFA World Cup which was held in Qatar and saw how people were working. We saw how FIFA was functioning and we noticed all their accomplishments. “We already had the aspirations to participate and thank God that we were able to do that. When we found out that the [FIFA] Club World Cup was going to be held here, we all said that the moment registration would open, we’d register. And thank God that we were chosen.” Nader is putting his own previous volunteering experience with a Jeddah-based cycling team to good use, and is conscious of the unique opportunity the FIFA Club World Cup™ provides his children to broaden their horizons.

Volunteer Nader poses for a pictures with his daughters Sara and Yara

“When you take part in competitions such as the [FIFA] Club World Cup, and when you work with FIFA, this is something that will add to your experience,” said the 52-year-old retired accountant, who is part of the team responsible for the gates through which fans pass, showing their tickets as they enter the stadium on matchday. “Having contact with all these people definitely adds to everyone’s experience. You also make connections and meet people of different nationalities.” “I’ve loved helping people in general for a long time, and we never forget our parents’ support for us while doing this volunteering,” explained Sara, 19, a student at Jeddah University, who welcomes and directs fans on matchday. “I love meeting new people, forging friendships, and gaining experience.” “My participation as an Arab woman as a volunteer for the [FIFA] Club World Cup will help me gain experience and broaden my knowledge in many fields,” added Yara, who is supporting the global media covering the competition. “It will help me a lot in many things.”