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INTERVIEW | Zimbabwe’s Bruce Grobbelaar: Hossam Hassan one of the best
Asked about the best African players that he faced in his career, Grobbelaar, who is best known in Egypt for being part of a famous 1994 World Cup qualifying replay, did not hesitate to name former Pharaohs’ strikers Hossam Hassan.
“Hossam Hassan from Egypt, (he was) unbelievable,” said Grobbelaar. “We had a torrid time against him.” Hossam Hassan was listed among some of the other elite strikers of Africa during the time: Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya, the Cameroonian duo of Roger Milla and Samuel Eto’o, and South Africa’s Doctor Khumalo.
During the interview, Grobbelaar also spoke about the 1994 World Cup qualifier in Cairo during which he was struck by an object thrown from the crowd and the difficulty of playing in Egypt.
You have 120,000 people in the stadium and you go one up, what do you think they’re going to do?
Speaking about the match, Grobbelaar said: “It didn’t start just with us being struck by objects. There’s a thing about being fair, and then there’s a thing about being not nice and fair. They were not nice, but they weren’t fair. We go to Egypt and they put us in a hotel on the edge of the desert with no air conditioning. They did not put us downtown where the hotels are good. ”
“It’s a difficult situation, you get into the Olympic Stadium and you have 120,000 people in the stadium and you go one up, what do you think they’re going to do? They start breaking the stadium to throw rocks at you. The rocks are coming, there’s a track around but the rocks are still coming. I get smacked because the ball boys are too scared to go across the track right near the people to get the ball, so I’m running to get the ball.”
“I get bonked on the head. There’s a bit of blood, I wipe the blood away so there’s blood on my glove and they it picked up on camera. Our coach comes out of the dugout, he gets struck, gets a big cut and is on the ground. We go back to the hotel and we’re getting chased by everybody else, and we couldn’t even come out of the hotel to have a drink. So we made a submission that it was unfair and FIFA (agreed).”
Grobbelaar also spoke about a short-lived trip to Egypt on vacation with his family after the incident-filled qualifier in Cairo.
“I go on holiday to Egypt to see the pyramids and the sphinx with my family. Coming into Egypt, I give them my passport they say no, no, no, you’re not coming in .. get out. They didn’t want me there.”
The full interview will be published Tuesday on The Mesfouf and Koshary Show page.