In recent years, Egyptian athletes have stood out in several sport disciplines, both in local and international championships. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to track the records and rankings of thousands of athletes across different disciplines; hence, corruption and inaccuracy become a common phenomenon.
Ibrahim Noufal, who has been heavily involved in the sports management sector, saw the problem and accordingly, decided to invest his efforts in founding a platform that documents official competition results of Egyptian athletes across local and global championships, as well as their rankings.
The platform, named Sports of Egypt, aims to be the go-to place for Egyptian athletes’ performances during national and international championships and was showcased in the most recent Demo Day of the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Venture Lab.
Noufal launched the platform in January 2017, but had gotten inspired to build it at the time of the 2012 London Olympics, during which a worldwide application was launched to help enthusiasts track and follow the timings and results of the different disciplines. “At the time, I wondered why we don’t create a national replica, but on a bigger scale,” he tells Business Forward.
The idea of Sports of Egypt may seem appealing, but it can harm the interest of a large segment of people
The vast majority of athletes who are present and covered by media outlets are not necessarily the top in their field. They, at best, know how to propagate for themselves, which makes it difficult to identify precise records and results, according to Noufal.
While at large, the idea of Sports of Egypt may seem appealing, it can harm the interest of a large segment of people because it focuses on limiting corruption in the field of university scholarships that are granted based on a student’s sports achievements.
“Scholarships for high school students are offered to athletes who won medals in their disciplines, and that is how they gain additional grades,” Noufal explains.
“However, the process of proving that the student achieved a medal is [quite bureaucratic]. It requires a paper and a stamp from an Olympic Committee, which could result in corruption and forgery,” he adds
Noufal hopes that Sports of Egypt can be a trusted reference for universities to verify the results and achievements of rising athletes, in order to make the process of scholarship allocation more transparent.
The business model
Sports of Egypt partners with official sports federations in order to obtain the needed data and information regarding competitions and championships.
The platform’s market validation took a year, during which Noufal focused on creating a model that benefits all stakeholders and involved parties in the sector, such as the athletes, their parents and the sports federations.
“Our model is catered to involve everyone,” he states.
In 2014, Noufal approached the Ministry of Youth and Sports with his idea; however, it was not viewed as a priority at the time.
“The current minister [Khaled Abdel Aziz] is open to new ideas and is working on restructuring and incorporating technology in the sector,” he explains.
“We are currently considering our opportunities. It is not only limited to money; we also need an investor with a vision and a strategy. At this phase we need someone we can benefit from in terms of connections and management,” Noufal concludes.