Rahaf Owais talks leap from playing to managing sports

رهف عويس
Rahaf Owais (Photo: Handout from Rahaf Owais)
AMMAN — For many athletes, leaving the field, court or pitch for work behind the scenes can be very difficult. But former national handball player turned sports manager, Rahaf Owais, found her calling in the transition.اضافة اعلان

“I used to play for the national handball team, but then developed a passion to integrate marketing and sports management. I worked as a marketing communication director at the Jordan Football Association (JFA), then worked with local organizing committee for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was hosted in Jordan in 2016,” Owais told Jordan News.

Owais said working as communications and marketing director with FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup organizing committee was the highlight of her career.

As the Jordan-hosted U-17 Women’s World Cup came to a close, she embarked on the next step in her journey with FIFA; working as a marketing venue manager for various tournament including, FIFA U20 World Cup Korea 2018, FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.

Through her work with FIFA, Owais was then nominated for her current position as a marketing rights delivery manager for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Elaborating on what it being a marketing rights delivery manger entails, Owais said: “My work centers on ensuring the application of sponsorship rights for FIFA partners throughout the tournament (Qatar World Cup), in addition to seeing through the contracts concluded between FIFA and the Cup’s official partners.”

“Any woman can work in sports management because the field is need of constant enhancement from a wide range of specializations. What makes this field so unique is the benefit it has on communities. This has always motivated to keep working harder,” Owais said.

The sports director, who now resides in Qatar, cited the “lack of awareness” about the importance of sports in general, as one of the greatest challenges facing sports in Jordan, noting an excessive interest in the results of national teams at the expense of the sector’s importance in boosting community growth and its impact on the youth, especially.

Owais, who holds a master’s degree in marketing and management from Bradford University, recounted kicking off her career in sports management as a volunteer at various events in the Kingdom.

“Working in marketing and sports management is greatly tied to organizing events and doing so in a timely manner, which are often held outside standard working hours,” she explained, adding that success in the field requires hard work and dedication.

She said that her work also covers the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 in Qatar; “an important milestone in Qatar’s efforts to prepare for the 2022 World Cup.”

Owais stressed the importance of volunteer work in empowering young girls and developing their abilities. “It is the best way to build a girl’s character and give her the means to shape it outside school or university, in an environment that is both suitable and enjoyable. Volunteering is also a great way to make friends, build relations and find a job in the future.”

But the sports director recognizes the difficulties that come with the territory of breaking into the world of sports. “Believing in oneself and perseverance are two very important things when working in the sports sector, especially as it requires women to be highly responsible in a realm that is dominated by men in Jordan,” Owais said.   

She concluded: “I have been in many situation where I have found myself among a group of highly experienced men, particularly the JFA’s ticket automation project, which to me was one that most helped build my character and honed my crisis management skill in a world of men. Change has begun and with it, women’s managerial abilities have started to shine”. 

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