An ill wind blows through Cairo (curtailing sightseeing) this morning. Newspapers are carried into the air and swirl upwards their destination uncertain. You close your eyes as you walk down the street to avoid the dust. Your own future uncertain as your visibility is reduced and the motorists are lying in wait………….. but give themselves away at the last second by repeatedly using their horns.
The Egyptians are delighted that their faith has been rewarded by a place in the final of this competition. They see this as just reward for a team led by their star Mido (peace be upon him). Going into this competition I got the feeling that they did not trust the team but that they worshipped Mido. When stopped in the street and asked about the team the Egyptians would always ask for an opinion on Mido. “Mido, the terrible” (the expression used in the newspapers as a compliment) my reply, left them confused as they felt I had not yet started to answer the questioWhen pressed further if you did not issue compliments they would stare at you and insist that you explain further whilst they would then insist in proving that this is the best player they have ever seen. This attitude is prevalent in society here and anything that does not meet their way of thinking is seen as wrong and unacceptable, and of course will be dealt with in time by you know who.
The manner in which they reached the final may leave them a little confused as Mido did his best to ruin everything by having a blazing row with coach Shehata, when substituted. This could have undone everything the team had worked so hard for. Mido’s replacement Amr Zaki, showing far more composure, concentrated on matters on the pitch and scored immediately after coming on. At the same time reducing Mido to a mere mortal bystander.
I understand that the Egyptians have already thrown him out of the squad and suspended him for six months. In this competition they have shown that they are not a one man team and that players compliment each other. Whilst there have been strong individual performances from Barakat, Aboutrika, Motaeb and Said it is the teamwork they have shown that has seen them overwhelm opposition and leave them with 4 wins and a draw and a goal tally of 12 for and only 3 against.
The coach Shehata should be congratulated for the achievement and for his brave decision to register his own free speech and show the world that this is the way forward.