Graphic by Maahir Ur Rahman Mohamed Shibly

Smells Like Team Spirit: Musbah Dilsebo Ormago

The second part of an interview series on the evolution of traditions within NYU Abu Dhabi's football team.

Apr 2, 2017

Musbah Dilsebo Ormago is a member of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Class of 2014. Hailing from Addis Ababa, Musbah majored in Social Research and Public Policy and currently works for the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation in Abu Dhabi.
####The NYUAD football team’s Facebook group is called Musbah FC. How did it come to be named after you? It just happened out of nowhere. In the beginning when we got into the bus to go to the training pitch, people would chant, Musbah, Musbah, Musbah! Eventually it became a routine. I’m not the type of person who wants to be seen or be out in public. For some reason, this happened, but it happened very organically.
I faced many challenges as a young person before coming to NYUAD and perhaps the way that I overcame those challenges, won a scholarship and came to NYUAD became a source of inspiration for some of the students in the football team. That could be one catalyst for naming the football team after me or maybe it was because I connected well with people. This is actually a question I would have to ask myself. Maybe some things don’t need an answer.
Finally, members of … the football team [from my class] said that Musbah FC would have to be our legacy, something we want to leave for the next batch of NYUAD students.
####What was it like when you first came to NYUAD and there was nothing here? Oftentimes I say to people, NYU[AD] is a project of everyone who was and is a part of it. When we started, there wasn’t much: no football team, no Student Government, even the student-led clubs that you see today were not there. We started it all! Even the football team wasn’t always as complete as we wanted it to be. Because we were so busy with assignments, sometimes you would have five people in the team, which was nowhere near the number a football team would need to have.
When we started, the team also lacked structure, organization and a winning mentality. Thanks to Coach Dicce’s leadership, over time we started playing as a team and started winning, becoming one of the competitive teams in the league.
In the beginning, we played against very good teams in the competitive league, losing by a big margin. But Coach Dicce would tell us, “This is not only about playing football and winning games; it’s about building relationships.” Some of us did not understand what that meant at the time. Today, I understand the kind of positive character that Coach Dicce was trying to instill in all of us.
I believe football helped us get away from our daily routine at the time. There was something called the Sama Bubble. Since we had many facilities in Sama Tower, there wasn’t a particular need to go out and explore the city. Gradually, football [became] an antidote to that. For me, playing football was a true passion. In the football team, there was this culture where as soon as you jump into the bus, people would start laughing and having fun. At that moment, you forgot everything but football.
####Are there any memorable moments or any traditions that you can think of? For Musbah FC, football wasn’t always going to be competitive. For some people, it was their first time playing football. For others, it was simply a cardio exercise. For the rest, it was a passion and they took it very seriously. But in the end, it comes down to what Coach would always say at the time, which is that our football team was about building relationships. One thing that I always remember is how one of the most reserved members of our football team became one of the most outspoken members of the team cry after a friendly game in Qatar. I would say it was a surprise to all of us but in a good way. I am sure the guy who cried at the time also had a good laugh about it later. The people who played in the team at the time will know exactly what I am talking about.
####Do you have any advice to graduating seniors or incoming freshmen that are just joining the team? The football pitch is a place where you can be who you are. You’re there to have fun and build relationships. Coach Dicce sees everyone equally and the team members respect each other. I think football is excellent for anyone who wants to build friendships or lead a healthy lifestyle.
Football also helps you to become a good person and to build friendships that last years after graduation. When you are on a team with someone who has never played football before, you’re helping that person escape from their routine life and to get more out of their university life.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who was a part of the NYUAD Athletics department. They helped some of us have the most memorable moments in the four years leading up to our graduation. My special thanks goes to Coach Peter Dicce!
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