Winning Is Sweeeeeet!
For all of you who didn't watch the match, Egypt completely destroyed Cote D'Ivoire winning a very deserved 3-1. And as expected from such a respectable news-source, as yours truly, I was in the middle of the action.
The stadium was PACKED. It was a full house. 80,000 Egyptians were already roaring and screaming 90 minutes before the game even started. Usually I don't believe in things like home side advantage, and that the fans are the 12th player, and that sort of things, but yesterday I really changed my mind.
Cote D'Ivoire has 23 players playing in Europe on its rooster, who are supposedly really professional footballers. Yesterday, however, they were really shaken. For at least the first 20 minutes of the game, they looked as if they were dropped behind enemy lines with nothing but their green jerseys on as armor. They kept passing the ball aimlessly, and their goalkeeper even passed the ball twice to Emad Metaab.
I won't talk about how the game unfolded, there are some people more specialized in this. But I'm really impressed with the fans. I know that sometimes football is looked down at as trivial, or even worse, as some sort of opium for the masses, and I can agree with that sometimes. But what I saw in the stadium were people (very diverse people, not all alike like the Egyptian media tries to portray us) who are really passionate about their country. How to make this energy and passion useful? I still have no ideas. But as one of my friends commented: "if we can do such great Mexican waves, why can't we have a decent industry?!"...I know that the two are not really identical (except if the industry you're considering is exporting football fans!), and there are a lot of other trivial factors (education, democracy, etc...) , but if the will is there, everything else should fall in place. Shouldn't it?
Some fun from the stands:
- Hossam Hassan (Egypt's 39 year old veteran) got most of the jokes. At one point Hossam was arguing with the referee when a friend commented "You know, the referee shouldn't be arguing with Hossam, he is older than him!"
- Commenting on the giant balloon flags behind the goals: "Amr Zaki (Egypt's sub) is so dumb, they just show him the other team's flag in the locker room, and tell him just follow it, it'll lead you to the goal'"
- A Cote D'Ivoirian (is that right?) defender kept going in circles when one fan yelled at him "What is the name of Papa, dear?" (you know, as if he is lost. You got it? Ok, sorry)