Saudi Arabia

Nike x Brownbook

Meet the football players of Riyadh's haras

Writer

Joe Dagher

Photographer

Abdulsalam AlAmri

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‘Any player who truly wants to be good must first play in the streets,’ says Ali Saleh Al Nemer. The teenage Yemeni national has high hopes to one day turn pro, but until then, he plays on one of the many football teams scattered across Saudi Arabia’s haras, or neighbourhoods. The sport is so popular among the kingdom’s youth that you can find as many as 20 teams – sometimes with 40 players each – per hara. Not ones to take their game lightly, the young athletes hold their own tournaments and championships.

Inspired by the level of dedication and sense of community in the haras, Nike took to the streets of Riyadh to celebrate the cultural phenomenon through its Winner Stays X series. ‘The hara football culture in Saudi Arabia is an inspiration to us, and to footballers everywhere,’ says Hind Rasheed, communications manager for distributors in Central and Eastern Europe at Nike. ‘These players are a living, breathing representation of “Just Do It.”’