Rakhma Village: where sport becomes source of pride

From school matches classes to local and international tournaments
Saqr Abu Hassan
December 14, 2021

Rakhma Village: where sport becomes source of pride

From school matches classes to local and international tournaments
Saqr Abu Hassan
December 14, 2021

When the teacher, Yahya Al-Gindi, of Egyptian nationality, gave children and adolescents students from the village of Rakhma - Dhamar Governorate, the opportunity to vent themselves between classes by playing football for the first time in their lives, he did not think - perhaps - that he was establishing a new culture in a social environment that was closely associated with the tribe. It was the beginning of the seventies of the last century, when it propelled three successive generations to the podiums in several sports.

The coach and international player in athletics, Samir Al-Yafai, remembers the details of the establishment of the "Shabab Rakhma Club" after those years. He says that football was the only game that was practiced as a main activity, and the situation continued for several years, and when the Egyptian teachers came to teach in Yemen, they contributed to the development of the football game, culminating in the founding of the club, which was officially approved in 1980.

According to Al-Yafai, the great credit for developing the football game in the club goes to the Egyptian teacher Yahya El-Gendy, and in the years following the club's official approval, its headquarters residence was built at the expense of the local citizens.

With the passage of time, the "table tennis" joined with football within the activities of the "Shabab Rakhma Club", followed by the game of "cross-country", and in 1996, Samir Al-Yafai returned to the club's headquarters, holding the Republic championship for athletics. From that station, the club’s champions began storming athletics championships and achieving tournaments and records on the local, regional and international levels. Moreover, the village of “Rakhma” turned into a source for athletics players as an exceptional model for sports in the Yemeni countryside.

Administratively, the village of "Rakhma" belongs to the district of Ans, about 6 km from the north-eastern city of Dhammar, and its population exceeds 12 thousand persons. Most of its youth have been involved in sports, and "the people's nervous ties have faded away, give birth to new ties among the village's youth that are sports ties, and joining the club has become a matter of pride."

And the academic of the Department of Psychology, Muhammad Al-Khidr, added, in an interview with “Khuyut”: “The club’s affiliates and those who represent it in tournaments are considered the elite of the youth in the village, and the field is what distinguishes one person from another. And because the club’s members set a good example in society, in terms of knowledge, morals and behavior; Affiliation with the club has become a matter of pride for parents, whose children join this distinguished entity.

Al-Khidr asserts that the club "represented - and still is - a symbol of the unity of the people of the village," and that as a result of their interaction with sports activities, the concepts of achievement and cooperation, and the group's ties that transcended those of the tribe and its contents, strengthened. Three tribes inhabit the village, each of which consists of a group of families, who live in lasting peace, and consider bearing arms a "disgrace"; Therefore, there are no manifestations of weapons in the village, except in rare cases.

In addition to sports, many of the villagers practice the profession of cutting and selling building stones, which began to witness a noticeable decline after the year 2011, due to the drop in demand and the low financial return. There are also two primary and secondary schools in the village, which have effectively contributed to graduating hundreds of teachers, doctors, military leaders and dozens of academics.

“In the beginning, we participated in some tournaments without exercises, and despite that, we have achieved medals and advanced positions,” Al-Yafai said, recounting the details of the beginning of the club, which reserved an advanced seat in the ranks of Yemeni clubs competing in several sports.

He added: "The club has teams in 13 games, including athletics - all competition distances in different age groups - cross-country, football, handball, chess, volleyball, judo, taekwondo, cycling, and swimming; the club has qualified in a number of these. Games to first-class clubs.

In 2011, the club’s march began to slow down, due to the cessation of the financial support it was receiving from the Youth Fund of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Since then, the “Qat” plant, which Samir Al-Yafai considers “the enemy of youth,” has invaded the region.

About that, he says: "since the cultivation of Qat has begun in the area, it affected the youth a lot, but thank God, despite the expansion and increase in the plantation of Qat, we still maintain a number of good players."

The club includes dozens of members of the national teams in athletics, cross-country, judo, handball and chess, who have represented Yemen in several international forums. Since its establishment, the club has trained hundreds of players, including professionals in Qatari clubs in athletics, and "every game has buds, juniors, youth and adults," according to Al-Yafai's assurances.

And the matter went beyond the "player industry" - as he put it - to qualifying "stadium judges, football referees among the elite referees of the Yemeni referees' committee in the Football Association, and the referees' committees in the Athletics Federation, chess, handball, and volleyball."

Sports journalist Abdul Karim Al-Saghir believes that the people of Rakhma village distinguished themselves in various sports, due to the culture that was established there, with the importance of practicing sports and obtaining advanced positions in it. This is due to the linkage of societal pride with the extent of achievement.

Speaking to "Khuyut", Al-Saghir indicated that the geographical characteristic of Dhammar Governorate, as the highest populated area in Yemen above sea level, helps athletes a lot. He added, "The altitude of Rakhma village is 2,400 meters above sea level, which means that the percentage of oxygen is low compared to coastal and low-lying areas, and when participating in tournaments, this feature helps club players reduce effort and increase speed."

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