A really fascinating phenomena of this tournament have been the fans. Other than the fact that there are more girls in the stadium than is recommended to really focus on a football match (not to mention to "react" to it), there seems to be a very "festive" sense of belonging.
Now, before I go into any hyperboles, I know these are just football matches, and that most of these guys couldn't tell a flag from a table cloth. But, and here is my point, now they do!
Societies work in mysterious ways, and I'm not being blasphemous here, so don't just kill me yet. Some societies perception of "nation" is centered around achievement, liberty, geographic location, history, or language. Most of the times these are mixed and matched, and these different combinations invoke the feeling of what is it like being a national of a specific nation.
When most of Egyptians are feeling increasingly apathetic to the notion of Egyptian citizenship, and belonging, enters football to change all that. Now I know that this football induced patriotic feelings are only temporal, and cannot be sustained for a long time, but if this football thing will make people, young ones especially, think "Hey, you know what, it is cool to be Egyptian", then football had done its part. It remains to us to capitalize on this.
If you think that I'm being extremely silly and superficial, then you're partly right! But for the sake of the other part think about the "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon for a minute, and tell me what kinds of images come to mind. (BMWs, hot-flag-painted-on-their-faces chicks, multilingual chants, right? Now did Syria go out?...ummm)
P.S. On second reading, this sounds really silly and superficial, but I am posting it so, you know, it might give you ideas!!
Ah, remember how I was bitching about not being able to get tickets for Egypt vs Congo match. Well, I pulled some strings, and hey presto I'm there (it is really depressing when you need to have connections to do about anything in this country!).
The highlight of the evening was Hossam Hassan's second goal for Egypt. It absolutely sent the full house to a frenzy, and cemented Hossam's reputation, as probably the greatest Egyptian footballer ever.
Here are some of the pics of the day:
And the obligatory "Boycott Denmark" sign
Next day, the tickets saga continues: