Date : September 29, 2009
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Title: The success of the Pharaohs tied to Egyptian clubs
Cue in: (Sounds from a training pitch)
Sounds from a training session of the Egyptian National team, Pharaohs, preparing for an important World cup Qualifier match against Zambia due in October 2009. Most of these players who form the bulk of the Pharaohs ply their trade for the local clubs at home.
Egypt are the Record winners of the African Nations cup having Lifted it a total of 6 times, they have also won the last two editions of the competition. 27 of the 30 players called to the National team play for clubs in Egypt. But, Why is this so? Magdy Abd Ghanny, a former Pharaohs Captain says Clubs in Egypt are more competitive than elsewhere in Africa.
Ghanny, who is also the President of the Egyptian Professional Footballers Association and a member of the Egyptian Football Federation, says local clubs also have good structures.
Magdy’s views explain the fact that Egyptian clubs, most notably Al-Ahly and Zamalek, have lifted continental titles like the CAF Champions league, the CAF Confederations cup and the now defunct Africa cup winners cup. Both sides, year in year out, make the group stages of the lucrative money spinning stages of the CAF Champions League. The Success of these two clubs have impacted on other clubs in the country by helping them improve their standards, says Medhat Shalaby, the Media manager of the Egyptian FA.
The Egyptian League has been ranked the 28th most competitive league in the world by FIFA.
Cue in: Call for Prayer.
A prayer call in down town Cairo, encouraging Muslims to get set for prayers. But, is it that players called for International duty want to play their club football in Egypt? Mohammed Hossam, a local soccer fan, claims sometimes the players can’t cope with lifestyles abroad, and maybe the local clubs don’t want to let them go.
Mohammed’s views are shared by Amir Zaaki, who played for Wigan and Sunderland in the English Premiership, before falling out of favour and returning home to play Zamalek.
But to many of the National Team supporters, they will always be happy to turn up at the Cairo International Stadium, or where ever the Pharaohs are, cheer on their team.
However, the Egypt FA Spokesman Mahadri insists there are some fans who turn their guns against players who play abroad.
What ever Reason for the Players Opting to play at home. The Pharaohs remain one of the most dominant and successful teams in Africa.
Cue out: Arabian music slows out.