Mostafa Tarek, 31, worked as a telecommunication engineer for four years before realising he was still passionate about football and sports. Today, he’s helping athletes launch a football career through a company he co-founded.
Tarek is the director of Mas Que Futbol (MQF) — Spanish for more than football — an international and multi-services sports management company that works with aspiring professional footballers both on and off the pitch. The company also prepares them for a future without football by focusing on all aspects of their professional life.
The Eqyptian — who graduated with a Master in Communications and Future Marketing from GBSB Global Business School — has helped aspiring professional footballers move on to greener pastures. His success stories include successfully getting a semi-professional player into the Egyptian national team.
We caught up with the former professional football player to find out more about MQF, how he uncovered his talent for helping athletes secure positions with football clubs, and why a solid education is an important safety net for those hoping to carve themselves a football career:
Hi Mostafa. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What sparked your interest in sports?
I pursued my bachelor’s degree in communication and electronics engineering back in Egypt before I started working in Orange France Telecom as a telecommunication engineer. After four years, I discovered that I still have a huge passion for football and sports since I used to be a professional football player.
I decided to move to Spain to pursue a master’s degree in marketing, then sports management, and the journey has begun.
Why did you decide to pursue a Master in Communications and Future Marketing at GBSB Global Business School?
I believe this degree will help me understand how I can promote my brand and move forward professionally in the future. In my situation, it was personal branding since I need to promote myself as I am the product and what I am doing in the football industry.
I need to expose the brand first in the market where I am from, then in Europe. I was looking forward to helping every athlete travelling abroad to chase their dream while studying what they love at the same time. I provide them with every single piece of advice they might need based on my journey and experience and assist them to reach their goals.
What would you say are some of the top skills gained from your degree? How has it helped you in your career or personal life?
I have gained a lot of skills in my master’s degree, such as:
- The most lucrative ways of planning multi-channel communication and marketing campaigns on the international stage
- How to promote a brand/product in different markets with an innovative approach
- The digital marketing aspect gives me the chance to know how to optimise and control the acceptance of innovative products/services on the market
- It helps me to develop my proficiency in communication, global marketing, international negotiations, emerging technologies and personal branding
The degree has helped me, both in my career and personal life. In my career, it gave me a confidence boost when talking to people from different clubs, organisations and parents of players when they feel that I am an educated person with good communication skills and professional background.
In my personal life, it helped me to widen my network. I gained a lot of contacts and connections, from my classmates and Barcelona, in general, since it’s one of the best cities in the world in terms of sports and is especially known for football.
So I would say obtaining my master’s degree and living in Barcelona helped me out by increasing my opportunities to meet new people and widen my experiences.
Tell us about MQF. How did the idea to start the company come about?
It started two years after I had moved to Spain when some of my friends back in my country asked me to help them play in some clubs abroad. I helped them, and I was successful in enrolling them in the GBSB Global Business School to continue their studies.
I decided to move forward with more athletes in the same way. I guided them through the visa process up to the start date of their university and when they joined their new team. My MQF partner has been through the same journey, so we are now helping prospective athletes chase their dreams.
We understand that MQF matches aspiring players to top clubs and universities. Can you tell us about some of your successful or proudest stories?
Yes, I want to share a success story from my player Omar Othman: he is an Egyptian but resides in the US. I helped him move to Spain and study for his bachelor’s degree at GBSB Global Business School.
When he came at the beginning, he was a semi-professional player. First, I worked on his mentality to ensure that he understands the tools he must use to be a professional player.
So we started to work together on his football skills. He had private training every day in the morning, as well as a nutrition plan, a gym plan, and Spanish lessons, which are very important for players here until I managed to put him in a good club.
One year after I transferred him to one of the top clubs in Catalonia, he got a call from the Egyptian national team. I remember him saying that he never imagined becoming a professional player and wearing his national team T-shirt.
The idea behind focusing on the player’s education is that it is always great that they want to be professional players, but nowadays, to become a professional player, talent alone is not enough. There are too many factors they need to work on in order to achieve their dreams.
So if they don’t make it as a professional player, then plan B is that they have already obtained a degree in the major they love so they can work in this industry and achieve their dream job.
Shifting gears: what advice would you give to students aspiring to become startup founders themselves?
Understand your passion, work and focus on it, don’t give up. There will be plenty of challenges and obstacles, nothing is easy. But you won’t feel all of that once you’ve reached the first goal you have dreamed about.
Many students have asked me how they can start their own companies. I always tell them to study exactly what they want to do, do plenty of research and create a business plan on your products, markets, segments, etc.
Try to network and build your contact base as much as you can since this will be your key to success.
Read and learn from the stories of those who have taken the same path as you so that you can learn from their mistakes.
Trust the process; nothing comes easy. It will always take time to make sure that you are on the right track. Once you’ve got it, move forward and forget about anything that might come your way.