Alaa Abdel-Ghani

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Latest by Alaa Abdel-Ghani


Sports Talk: Homeland stadium

The new Palestinian stadium that opened last week was great news football wise, but it has not and will never replace the real ground, the state, that Palestinians lost 60 years ago. So when you read things in the Western press like Palestinians may not have a state, but now they have a stadium and …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: This time there's no excuse

Egypt should make it to the 2010 World Cup. We could use the world must be we don t want to make it sound like it s do or die, even though it is. We were lucky in the luck of the draw. If Egypt s coach Hassan Shehata had pulled out the little pieces …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: In anticipation of…..

As they do almost daily, they went through their usual practice drills but one aspect of their training regimen was bypassed; actually forbidden. No penalty kicks were taken. Even the thought or the mere mention of spot kicks was prohibited. When they clash tonight in Cairo in their second-leg semi-final game in the African Champions …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Palin the hockey mom

Sarah Palin is perhaps not the most intelligent person around, but she has definitely re-energized John McCain s bid for the White House. Part of her appeal comes from the fact that she is, among other things, a hockey mom, describing herself as such in her speech to the Republican National Convention. And it seems …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Cheating for a cause

It’s being said by some people in some parts that Ahly might be willing to let Zamalek win their African Champions League match in the hopes that Zamalek might in the end be able to sneak into the semi-finals of the tournament in which, if this were to happen, there will be not one but …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Missing in action

President Mubarak wants to know why Egypt did so badly in Beijing and has set up a fact-finding committee to see what went wrong. We all want to know how is it that from a 177-strong delegation we sent to the Olympics, they got just one lowly bronze medal between them. Take your pick: field …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: When politics gets in the way

It is a general sentiment among people that politics and sport should not go together. But they often do. In the wake of the new Iranian movie, Execution of the Pharaoh , which paints former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat as a traitor for signing the 1978 Camp David accords, and his assassin a martyr, Egypt’s …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Weight a minute!

For most of us, the fear of flab is the reason we exercise, the motivation that drives us to the gym. But you must know people who slog away and never lose weight (I know somebody who 20 years ago, was short, balding and fat. Today he’s still short, bald and fatter. And that’s after …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Be a Turkey

Euro 2008 has come, mesmerized and gone but it has left in its wake a few soccer lessons we would do well to rote memorize. Turkey proved you should never leave before the end. Spain was the best team in the tournament but Turkey the most exciting because of her heroics in the last minute …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Without sports

Imagine you live in Iraq. Now imagine there are no sports in Iraq. Now you have an idea about how bad life can be in that country. Sports might not be the number one issue on the minds of Iraqis; just staying alive is probably of most concern. But the absence of sports, notably football, …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: A sure winner

This column has made a habit of making mildly famous wrong predictions. It is today’s marked objective to kick the habit by making the following forecast: An Egyptian team will win this year’s African Champions League.Why will this confident conjecture be any different from the rest? For one, Egypt is the only country fielding two …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Why squash should be an Olympic sport

With five players in the world’s top 20, Egypt excels at squash, but no one seems to pay any attention, neither in Egypt nor in the Olympics which refuses to take the sport in. Breaking squash into the mainstream sport of football isn t easy in this or any other country. But it’s odd why …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Why squash is not an Olympic sport

Once again our squash players have made us proud, the men and the women gaining respective first place finishes in the Hurghada Open. Rami Ashour and Omneya Abdel-Kawi produced a popular home double in the squash international, cementing Egypt’s hierarchical position on the world squash map, with Egypt currently boasting four players in the men …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Our greatest swimmer deserved better

The passing away of Abdel-Latif Abu Heif did not elicit the kind of response from the media or the public that an icon should be accorded. The death of the greatest swimmer — actually the greatest athlete — Egypt has ever produced was given such scant attention that if you blinked you missed the news. …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Torch the torch

Stop the Olympic torch trek now. We’re not going to get into a debate over what China is doing in Tibet, or in Darfur, or Myanmar, or its record on human rights. Those issues are best left to the experts. But the political debate over China s hosting the Summer Olympics is rapidly overtaking the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Stadiums safe and secure

Egypt s path to the 2010 World Cup has been made slightly easier after FIFA warned the DR Congo, a country in our group of preliminary qualifiers, that it may have to play home qualifiers away from Kinshasa after being given an ultimatum to fix security infrastructure at the capital s Martyrs Stadium. FIFA twice …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Goalie on the run

It is a big deal to a lot of people, the fleeing of Egypt s premier football goalkeeper to a little known Swiss club without having the courtesy of first informing his domestic side Ahly. The story has been compelling stuff for the media and public from the time of the Great Escape on Feb. …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: After Africa, the world

We re still flying high with our African winning football team. Tomorrow the nation s parliament will be the latest site for some more feting. But people have started to look ahead, specifically to the 2010 World Cup. It is truly amazing how Egypt, which has won the Africa Cup of Nations a record six …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Ten lessons from Ghana

Who would have thought Egypt would win the Africa Cup of Nations? That s one of the things we learned from the tournament: keep the faith.Altogether, we were given 10 worthwhile lessons in Ghana 2008. 1. You can win inside enemy territory. Egypt s 2006 victory was largely attributed to the advantage of playing on …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Keep your shirt off

We interrupt what would have been a story on the Africa Cup of Nations to bring you this special report. We re still in Ghana but we focus on what has become the famous or infamous – depending on where you stand – Gaza t-shirt of our biggest football star Mohamed Abu Treika. In the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Nothing but the cup will do

At this time two years ago, we boldly predicted Egypt would not win the African Cup of Nations. We were wrong. So we ll try again. Here comes another ACN tournament and another prediction: Egypt will not win the African Cup of Nations. There are several reasons. We have shown a complete inability to win …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Why so high?

As our footballers take a 50-day break induced by the African Nations Cup starting next week, we have been treated to the delightful news that the Egyptian football league is the 26th best in the world, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). The IFFHS also places Ahly as the 42nd …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Be like Brazil

These pricey football academies with names like Barcelona, AC Milan and Arsenal that are popping up all over Cairo: have they really produced soccer players worthy of their names? So far they haven’t, not necessarily because they can’t but because they haven’t been around long enough. But why wait to see the finished product? Why …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk :Egypt trips and Ahly fall

2007 was not one of Egypt s better football years. The country with the most African Nations Cup championships, the most appearances in the ANC, and the defending champions (we re all three) had to wait until the last game of the last day before qualifying for next month s ANC tournament in Ghana. And …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

SPORTS TALK: Play till you drop

Pant, pant, pant? That s all you hear these days from our football players who are about to drop dead in the middle of playing at the torrid pace of one game every three days. The reason for the compressed league schedule is to make up for the time the games stopped for two weeks …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Mind your manners

It is pure joy to watch one of our own go from great to greater. Egypt s Amr Shabana in Bermuda this week won the final of the Endurance World Open Squash Championship to become only the fourth player in history to lift the world title for a third time. After beating France s Gregory …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

SPORTS TALK: The direction to take

The death knell has been tolling every day since Al Ahly lost the African Champions League title to Tunisia’s Etoile last week. Much of the public, press and perhaps even some of the players are wondering whether this is indeed the end of an era. No one ever knows how a team will react after …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

SPORTS TALK: A record hard to beat

In the pan-Arab Games starting in Egypt tomorrow, the host country will earn 113 gold medals, 89 silver and 107 bronze for a 309 total and, naturally, a first place finish in the medals table. Of the 32 sports to be played, swimming will flood us with 42 medals, 30 will come from weightlifting, 18 …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

SPORTS TALK: The last to arrive

The draw was conducted in Accra yesterday as we went to press so by now we should know who Egypt will be grouped with in the African Nations Cup beginning in January in Ghana. However, going by the mediocrity of the squad these days, even if the three teams we are to face in our …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

SPORTS TALK: Death list lengthens

After the news rocked the country when it happened, it hardly got a mention anywhere that this week marked the first anniversary of the death of Egyptian international footballer Mohamed Abdel-Wahab at the age of 23, from a sudden heart attack while training. What was mentioned, though, were several other players who have met the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani