“Shameful elimination”, the defeat of the Pharaohs at CAN 2024 infuriates the Egyptians, Jeune Afrique

“Shameful elimination”, the defeat of the Pharaohs at CAN 2024 infuriates the Egyptians

Published on February 1, 2024

Reading: 3 minutes.

“Well, that's the least of our worries,” said Mohamed, with a sad face, after Egypt said goodbye to the African Cup of Nations (CAN), in the round of 16, against the DRC. If luck served the country during the qualifying phases, the poor performance in Ivory Coast of the national team upset the supporters. On the evening of January 28, there were more than 150 young people grouped at the Alaa al-Dine cafe in downtown Cairo to watch the match against the Congolese. Like everyone else, Mohamed Abdellah expected an easy match: with seven titles to their credit, aren't the Pharaons the most successful team on the continent? Yet here they came out without glory – and without having won the slightest victory – from the Pan-African competition..

Avant the opening of the competition, the Egyptian media still assured that the selection which was going to present itself in Côte d'Ivoire was "the best version of the national team since 2010", that is to say the last CAN won by the Pharaohs. " We have Liverpool star Mohamed Salah Mostafa Mohamed, FC Nantes striker, and even Omar Marmoush, the left wing who plays in the Bundesliga,” recalls Mohamed. “Even the players have participated to an advertisement under the slogan: change the place where you watch the matches, bad luck could go away,” adds the young thirty-year-old.

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But from the first meeting – a draw against Mozambique – the supporters discovered a team without a plan. “In each match, we expected their performances to improve, but that didn’t happen. This confirmed our intuition: this team is not doing very well far ", laments Mohamed. After three draws, the Pharaohs qualified at the last minute in the round of 16 thanks to Ghana's unexpected defeat against Mozambique. On social media, the Egyptians mocked: “We qualified by being the least worst second in their group. »

But the defeat constitutes, for the fans, a “shameful elimination” and the time has now come to look for responsible. An MP questioned the Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouli, as well as the Minister of Sport and Youth, Ashraf Sobhy, on the subject. The latter was also the subject of a request to be summoned before the Senate.

The regime in the dock

Because if the media treated the defeat of the Pharaohs on a strictly footballing level, the citizen-supporters quickly saw it as new proof of failure of power, already evident, in the economic domain. Mohamed himself says he is depressed. He has been out of work for a year and, in his eyes, the setback suffered by his team is nothing other than a reflection of the general state of the country and its mismanagement.

“Football in Egypt is very politicized, failure on the pitch translates to the people as that of the regime in place, here will be accused of not even having managed to manage this file,” explains Said Sadek, professor of social policy at the private Egyptian-Japanese university in Cairo. “Football is seen as a way to vent the anger of Egyptians in a country that is going through a strong economic crisis. The disappointment born from the elimination is all the stronger. »

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The CAN also coincided with a new kick du Egyptian pound rate on the black market: it took 54 pounds to buy 1 dollar at the beginning of January 2024, the rate has now increased to 73 to 1 (compared to 30,9 to 1 at the official rate). This free fall affects essential foodstuffs and medicines, whose prices have doubled or even tripled, and some, particularly imported products, have become impossible to find.

“Egyptians are deeply concerned about la economic crisis and the failure of the regime to control it, which they have already observed for two years. The defeat of the national team only confirms this feeling,” repeats Said Sadek. “It wouldn't have been fair to see good football while the country suffers under an authoritarian and corrupt regime,” concludes Mohamed angrily. Thank God the regime will not be able to take advantage of football to feed sa propaganda. »

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This article appeared first on https://www.jeuneafrique.com/1532143/societe/elimination-honteuse-la-defaite-des-pharaons-a-la-can-2024-exaspere-les-egyptiens/