The Power Of Goals

Dr. Khan with FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 branded car at a roadshow.
Dr. Khan with FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 branded car at a roadshow.

Dr. Mohammed Khan Founder President and CEO of Khans Media City looks back at a glittering career that started with a simple wish of playing football



By Muhammad Ali Bandial

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 9:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 11:20 AM

As sport is enjoyed by all regardless of age, gender and ethnicity, its appeal is universal. Undoubtedly it is a force which can promote universal values that transcend language and culture and bring forth oneness of humanity.

The marketing tools, color theme graphics, official magazine, branding aircraft, vehicle graphics and publicity materials for FIFA World Cups have been designed, printed and produced by Khans Media City, headed by Dr. Mohammed Khan in such a way that everything in some way or other pointed to the unification of the world and the oneness of mankind.

Such is the quality of the work that the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is the fourth consecutive edition Khans Media City is getting the opportunity to render its service. Speaking about his childhood and affinity for sports, Dr. Khan said: “As a child, I was very agile and this naturally attracted me to sports and games. The Peruvallur village where I was born and brought up, and the state I belong to, are known for the craze for football.” He added that the sport enjoys great popularity in his area, surpassing that of cricket, which had not attained the popularity that it enjoys now. “So, football was the most popular game in those days. Sevens and elevens football tournaments were conducted even in remote villages. Football players were invited from African countries like Sudan and Nigeria by the local clubs. Their mesmerising performances thrilled me and I even dreamed of one day becoming a player like one of them. The heroism that was shown by the players on the field made me want to emulate them. But soon, I realised that I didn’t have the physical strength or stamina for becoming a professional footballer,” he said.

Dr. Junichi Yamada, Executive Vice Chancellor and CEO of Jica launches the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 jersey with (left to right) Dr. Satoe Sugie, Director-General, SMI Inc.; Dr. Mitsuaki Sugie, Chairman, SMI Inc.;  Dr. Dennys, President, Dennys World; Dr. Khan and Dr. Anil Mathew.
Dr. Junichi Yamada, Executive Vice Chancellor and CEO of Jica launches the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 jersey with (left to right) Dr. Satoe Sugie, Director-General, SMI Inc.; Dr. Mitsuaki Sugie, Chairman, SMI Inc.; Dr. Dennys, President, Dennys World; Dr. Khan and Dr. Anil Mathew.

However, his interest in the sport persisted and he noticed that the people who got involved in sports often showed a universal outlook towards life that transcended the barriers of religion, politics, language, and nationality. This led him to realise that sports can be effectively utilised for uniting the people of the world through the medium of sports.

Looking back at this moment of clarity, Dr. Khan said: “I then had a dream of getting into an organisation such as FIFA and IOC. I never could have imagined at that time that one day, I will get connected with FIFA. Today, that dream has become a reality and it is the fourth consecutive time that I am working for FIFA World Cups.”

Breakthrough moment

“My entry into the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) in 2003 was the first major breakthrough in my career. At that time, I was running the small media and marketing firm named Khans Creations at Calicut, in Kerala. I had neither the contacts nor the popularity at that time to achieve something big. It was only by God’s grace that I got an opportunity to meet A.P. Aslam, who was working for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He introduced me to Sheikh Mohammed. On that occasion, I got an opportunity to shoot his official photographs. He was instantly impressed by my skills in photography, and provided me the great opportunity to be part of the Dubai events and promotions team, which was marketing the DSF as ‘One World, One Family, One Festival’ worldwide” Dr. Khan said.

“It was my contribution to the success of DSF in 2003 that paved the way for my entry into FIFA. As a token of appreciation, the Government of Dubai distributed awards to those who had played an important role in the success of DSF, during the closing ceremony. The dignitary invited for the award distribution was the Chairman of Emirates Airlines, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. I bagged three awards, ‘The Best Event Coordinator’, ‘The Best Photography’ and ‘The Best Journalist’. My winning spree piqued the curiosity of the award distributor, who called me aside after the function and asked about my whereabouts,” he recalled.

Climbing the ladder

Impressed by Dr. Khan’s achievements, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum offered him to do some media campaign for Emirates Airlines Airbus 380, on a trial basis. “In 2006, as per his advice, I opened the office of Khans Media City in Dubai. I was given some works related to FIFA in 2010 as the next assignment. Emirates Airlines was the main sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. This is how I got my entry into FIFA,” he added. Khans Media City got the major publicity designer and marketing assignments. Connections with Emirates Airlines enabled Dr. Khan to travel across the globe. The exposure to diverse cultures during the travel gave him great insights into design logos and he was thus able to create themes for different global events. These insights led to him producing publicity and promotional materials that proved to be very effective.

Dr. Khan with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil football signed and gifted by the legendary and ‘the greatest’ footballer Pele.
Dr. Khan with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil football signed and gifted by the legendary and ‘the greatest’ footballer Pele.

Unique branding idea

Khans Media City provided the marketing tools and theme graphics for the previous FIFA World Cups in 2010, 2014 and 2018. “We also took up the planning, designing and production of the FIFA official products, roadshows were also conducted in different countries” he added.

Dr. Khan put forward the idea of the graphic branding of the aircraft, behind which the Emirates Airlines authorities extended their whole-hearted support. Airbus 380 thus, became the first aircraft in the world to be graphically branded with the logo and theme of 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil.

“Getting an entry into a global event, which is closely watched by millions of people from countries all over the world is a rare privilege. But it also entails great responsibilities. Keeping that in mind, the team of Khans Media City worked in tandem, round the clock, carrying out the different tasks. We approached the work with utmost sincerity and with a great sense of responsibility. We paid attention to minute details in fulfilling our tasks. It is in recognition of our efficiency and expertise.”

Role in the ‘Waka waka’ theme song

The ‘Waka waka’, which ultimately became a colossal hit among fans, was not planned initially as a theme song. It was only one among the nine songs in an audio album. Referring to the incident, Dr. Khan said: “In 2009, I went to South Africa and spent around six months there to study, research and assess the business possibilities for Emirates Holidays and Airlines. During my stay there, one day I happened to hear this song. It was not in the detailed form that you hear it now. It was restructured and recomposed. Some changes were brought about in the musical arrangement and the tune as well, and proposed as the theme song for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.”

There were no sponsors for production support. So, with the available resources, Khans Media City took it as a challenge and completed it in a single day shoot. “Later, we filled the gaps by collecting some visuals from previous FIFA World Cup hot shots and used those footages effectively. The song was watched by millions on various streaming channels such as YouTube and has turned out to be an all-time favorite song. It is one of the greatest achievements of Khans Media City,” he said.

Other endeavours

Khans Media City also has tie ups with around 38 top-notch corporate global names such as Longines, TAG Heuer, Lavey-Morcles, Dubai Duty Free, Swiss Hotel Group, Armani Group, Malabar gold etc.

Global projects

Dr. Khan said that he constantly keeps himself busy by participating in various projects. “I am also involved in some organisations that are working for global peace and oneness of humanity, one of them is being the Director-General of the Tokyo-based organisation Council for Universal Peace (CUP), which arranges global peace summits in major cities of the world. In such gatherings, influential world leaders, peace workers, intellectuals and global celebrities are invited to share their thoughts and action plans for ensuring world peace.” He added that eminent global figures in the fields of music, literature, and arts are also brought together for bringing about peace, harmony and happiness in the world.

Dr. Khan is also the Secretary General of Dennys World Inc., another global organisation which works for sustainable development and world peace. “Dennys World organises several functions in different parts of the world which are based on these objectives and implements several projects including women empowerment programmes, environmental regeneration etc. under the motto of ‘Peace for Pangea’,” he said.

Dr. Khan gets a warm send-off to Qatar at Cochin International Airport.
Dr. Khan gets a warm send-off to Qatar at Cochin International Airport.

Accolades and milestones

Looking back at such an accomplished and glittering career is a cause for pride and Dr. Khan is grateful of all the opportunities that came his way.

“Considering my contribution to the country as the brand ambassador for the Government of India’s international and domestic programmes like ‘Swachh Bharat, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India, Azadi ka amrit mahotsav’ etc. I was conferred the ‘Bharat Mahan’ appreciation by the Ministry of Culture. Considering my achievements as an NRI businessman, I was awarded the ‘Pravasi Ratna Award’ in 2017.”

For the best media promotion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Dr. Khan was awarded the ‘Olympic Media Gold Medal’ in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the IOC. Other accolades include receiving the ‘Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award 2022’ from the Governor of Maharashtra, which is given to successful entrepreneurs and achievers of India.

“Recently, I got the ‘World Peace Leader Award’ from the Tokyo-based Organisation Council for Universal Peace during the World Peace Summit 2022, held at the World Trade Centre, Dubai on September 21 as part of the World Peace Day Celebration,” he said.

— ali@khaleejtimes.com


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