2020 marked another year of achievement for the award-winning Koora Time programme – a joint initiative launched by Qatar Shell and Qatar Football Association (QFA) – to engage children and promote healthy lifestyle through football.

Season 8 of Koora Time attracted over 3,500 youth, with girls accounting for 50% of participants, bringing the total number of children who benefitted from the initiative to over 100,000 since the programme was launched in Qatar in 2013.

Participants from 31 schools across the country had access to 35 venues, including Aspire Academy’s state-of-the-art facilities, before the outbreak of COVID-19, which brought the world to a standstill and interrupted the latest season.

Andrew Faulkner, Managing Director and Chairman of Qatar Shell said they are extremely proud of the participants and coaches who completed this challenging season – on the pitch and later through the virtual platform that was created by their partners – allowing them to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 while staying connected, a true reflection of the Koora Time values they teach and practice.

According to QFA Marketing and Communications Director Khalid Al Kuwari, there is no doubt that this season is an exceptional season despite the COVID-19 challenges.

Next season we will get back to training and have more passion for football than ever, but for now, let us be extra careful and stay safe by enjoying the exceptional virtual platform of Koora time.

This year, Aspire Academy inked a three-year agreement with Qatar Shell to introduce the Football Skills Methodology, an 18-week programme specifically designed by Aspire Academy for kids joining at entry-level. The new methodology follows a gradual progression system by adding additional elements of football training as children acquire new skills, such as ball handling, team play, and goal scoring. The addition of a new component, along with the existing Healthy Living Methodology, has helped further develop the sustainable Koora Time initiative.

The lockdown measures that followed the COVID-19 outbreak prompted Koora Time to leverage its online platform to introduce its innovative virtual football challenge.

The initiative, which was launched through the online platform Extra Time, provided access to fitness tips and enabled participants to finish learning the Koora Time methodology, and to conclude Season 8 of the programme.

729 new participants registered in the Extra Time competition, which covered the remaining 20 hours of physical activity as part of Season 8.

Koora Time coaches engaged participants online, filming and sharing virtual challenges through social media to teach participants how to exercise and complete the challenges from home.

As part of the Koora Time programme, Qatar Shell and QFA teamed up earlier this year to organised a myriad of family-oriented activities at Katara Cultural Village for Qatar National Sport Day, reflecting the strength of their partnership and their unwavering commitment to youth development in Qatar as part of their contribution to Qatar National Vision 2030.

Koora Time S8 (2)

Since its launch in 2013, Koora Time has transformed the fitness and nutrition habits  of children, with 95% of participants seeing a reduction in their Body Mass Index (BMI) in recent years.

As testament to its success in recent years, Koora Time earned three internationally acclaimed awards, including its fourth Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Dream Asia Award, bringing their total number of accolades to 12.

Qatar Shell and partners are currently getting ready to launch Season 9. Meanwhile, the Extra Time platform remains accessible for everyone in Qatar who wish to experience football virtually, and to access fitness and health tips, online games and other activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle.