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‘We Must Go’: Movie Review
While 32 national football teams take part in the World Cup every four years, there are many more sitting on the sidelines and wondering “what if?” Most Egyptians have larger concerns to deal with, but regretting that their national team is not at the World Cup will be in the minds of many.
We Must Go, a documentary directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker – released just prior to the start of this World Cup – follows the journey of former Egyptian national football coach Bob Bradley and the national team as they work towards qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. The documentary covers the period from October 2011 through November 2013, during which the Egyptian nation is also starkly polarized and the political scene is in turmoil. Considering Egypt’s rich football history and their deep love of the game, this documentary is bound to be an emotional experience for any Egyptian football fan.
Countless amazing shots and a soundtrack by Joshua Johnson effortlessly engage the viewer with the unfolding story, even though the less than victorious ending is already known. If you were as invested in the Egyptian’s qualifying campaign as I was, it will be difficult to watch the 95 minute documentary straight through. Factually and emotionally, there is a lot to take in; especially if one considers that a qualifying Egyptian national team would of given the country some much-needed hope and unity at a critical time.
We Must Go covers far more than just the effort to reach the World Cup; it sheds light on the history of football in politics, including the Port Said stadium massacre of February 2012. Copper Pot Pictures offers insightful perspectives via interviews of football journalists such as Greg Lalas, Grant Wahl, James Dorsey, James Montague and our very own KingFut.com co-founder Mohamed Seif.
Egyptian-based journalists Bel Trew and Sharif Abdel Kouddous contribute the political context to the documentary. Some Egyptians may view the extensive coverage of the political uprisings unfavourably, but others would argue that it is only representative of the interconnectedness of football and politics in Egypt.
The ending isn’t what one expects in a sports movie, but it does give a dose of reality to both the political and football scene — the happy ending everyone wants will take a lot more work and time. Although the Egypt national football team fell short of its goal, assistant coach Tomasz Kaczmarek adds a broader perspective: “Every time we step on the field as a team we have the chance to show the people something special can be done when we are united. And in a time where everything in Egypt is divided, we can lead by example.”