The 2022 World Cup Final in Qatar coincided with the first day of the school holidays in Sydney, so the Lebanese Muslim Association decided to do something a little bit different for the football-loving school kids.

The LMA has always had a huge focus on our youth, who of course are the future of our community, and the organisation’s Lakemba Mosque Youth initiative does a fantastic job in facilitating activities for young people.

So a FIFA World Cup Final Night event for boys aged 15 years or older was held overnight in the newly refurbished underground area of Lakemba Mosque on Sunday December 18.

A very large gathering of teenage boys and several fathers enjoyed a packed 10-hour program featuring some highly entertaining guest speakers; a FIFA 23 video game tournament; amazing Broaster Chicken dinners and of course, the World Cup Final live from Lusail (just north of Doha) on two giant TV screens.

‘Scratch’ futsal games, table tennis, and regular visits by the teens to the slushie, popcorn and fairy floss machines added to the enjoyment of very memorable event.

The atmosphere during the World Cup Final itself was tremendous with almost raucous cheering from the boys for both teams.

Nothing beats the mood and feeling of being around Australia’s most famous mosque – Masjid Ali Bin Abi Talib – and the downstairs program, which ‘kicked off ‘after Magreb prayers, was suspended for the gathering to move upstairs for both Isha and Fajr.

Earlier in the night, special guest speakers Sheikh Rameh Zaoud and the world renown ‘Diet Doctor’ Moodi Dennaoui kept the young audience captivated.

Both Moodi and Sheikh Rameh are wonderful friends of the LMA and Lakemba Mosque Youth and their support is always greatly appreciated.

The LMA also wishes to acknowledge the fantastic support of event sponsors Broaster Chicken Australia; Burgers On Broadway Regents Park and Meals By Moodi, as well as the many volunteers and helpers including Salim Allouche and Mahmoud Sabaayon, who made the journey from Othman Bin Affan Mosque at Cabramatta to help out.

FIFA World Cup Final night was the LMA’s third major event in the space of seven weeks, following on from the success of National Mosque Open Day at Lakemba Mosque and the LMA Career Expo – and was also held just 24 hours after around 500 guests attended the organisation’s Arabic Speaking Colleges Graduation Ceremony.