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NFL stars visit Egypt
A group of NFL stars, headlined by the enigmatic Marshawn Lynch, were in Egypt last month as part of an American football training camp.
The program – American Football Without Borders (AFWB) – is an effort by the NFL to spread the game’s popularity by helping those unfamiliar with American football, the most popular professional sport in the United States, understand it better.
Aside from the now recently-retired Seattle Seahawks running back, Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams – also the program’s Development Director – and Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge also visited.
Perhaps the most interesting incident to emerge from the trip was this video of Lynch – who has a cult following thanks to his free-spirited, non-conformist personality – ‘ghost-riding’ a camel near the Giza Pyramids.
The video was a viral sensation, making it onto ESPN and Fox Sports among others.
Lynch apparently wasn’t the only one enjoying his time in the Land of the Pharaohs. Williams and Barnidge took to Twitter to share the fun.
Hello from Egypt!https://t.co/CoKt8f5kJf
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) February 29, 2016
— Gary Barnidge (@garybarnidge) February 29, 2016
Williams told Pittsburgh’s Tribune-Review that AFWB was coming to Egypt to “help polish the great athletes in Egypt with knowledge of [American] football, in the hopes of bettering the program.”
The Egyptian Federation of American Football, which hosted the NFL stars, has 500 registered players on three university teams, four independent teams, and one women’s team.
The federation’s founder, Amr Hebbo, says Egyptians are “starting to know more about American football and are forming more teams.”
“We want to introduce American football strategies, ethics and values as sport into the Egyptian culture, to compete both on the national and international levels,” he added.
American football is growing in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa, with teams also in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.