Nike Launches 'We Play DXB' To Tell Inspiring Stories Of Local Athletes

22 November 2018
Nike, Middle East, DUBAI, We Play DXB
The latest Nike campaign in the Middle East follows the journeys of 12 young Dubai residents.

“We Play DXB”, Nike’s latest campaign in the Middle East, has launched in Dubai with the aim of telling inspirational stories from the diverse and eclectic mix of the city’s youth and aspiring local athletes.

From the streets of Karama to warehouses in Al Quoz, from new neighbourhoods to the tracks, courts and fields across the city, “We Play DXB” reveals the journeys of 12 outstanding athletes who have made the first steps on journey that may one day see them reach the top of their fields.

Seven years ago, Syrian footballer Mustafa Khalaf landed in Dubai as a 10-year-old after escaping the war in his homeland. He spoke little English and found it hard to communicate with fellow students.

Today, his life has been transformed thanks to football and social media. By studying the moves of his idol Cristiano Ronaldo, Mustafa became fluent in the language of football, and eventually, English. His colleagues welcomed him with open arms.

“In Syria, I wasn’t so fit, but I was that kid that poured his heart into football; I would sweat, die, can’t breathe, just to finish the game,”Mustfah says. “I gained weight when I first got to Dubai but then I started playing football regularly, I lost weight and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been now. It’s balanced.”

He’s not the only one whose life has changed in recent years.

In his spare time, 18-year-old skateboarder Mohammad Mansour can be seen displaying his skills at the skate park in Dubai Design District, a place he calls home away from home.

Nike skateboarder

Mohammad Mansour

“Skateboarding changed me, especially the way I dress and act. It all started five years ago when I got a board for my 13th birthday,” says Mohammad, who is half-Egyptian, half-Russian and has live in Dubai for 16 years. “I would use the board as a transportation method to get to the metro, and then, slowly, my friends bought themselves their own boards and we all got inspired to get better, through YouTube or social media.”

Inspired by Dubai’s tight-knit skating community, Mohammad ended up winning first place at X Dubai Skate Park, one of the city’s biggest skateboarding competitions.

We Play DXB

Others involved in “We Play DXB” are Farah Ahmed, a contortionist; talented basketball player and freelance filmmaker Akira Kyle; Mariam Alhamad, a Bahraini runner; Keetu Prem, an Indian runner; Nigerian runners Mira and Aisha Zailani; half-Emirati, half-American football twins Noor and Dana Patterson; Thaoban Adesiyan, a rising basketball player; and Widad Hassan, a Sudanese runner.


Mira and Aisha Zailani

“Sports is a universal language,” says Mariam. “I could go to Japan and run, and someone could be running right next to me. In Canada, I could throw a ball to someone and they’ll instinctively know what I’m doing. Whatever it is I do, someone out there understands it.”


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