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Seeing Black Stars: A Nightmare in Egyptian Football History

Abou-Treika - Egypt

Ghana dazzled spectators in the Baba Yara Stadium as Gyan and co. absolutely demolished the Pharaohs in one of Egyptian football’s worst ever appearances in the World Cup Qualifiers.  This adventure in the African continent ends with a complete disaster to a dream many of ’s players and fans have had since even before the days of the golden generation during Shehata’s era.

This is hardly the best time for me to write my very first editorial on KingFut, but I certainly hope it is the last of such occasions – and definitely hope it can’t get any worse than this. The Egyptian national team were utterly destroyed due to a host of disadvantages: from the formation coach chose to the selection of players, the weather conditions combined with the poor grass surface and the incredible speed, individual skill and power the Ghanaians exhibited.

The match gave it’s first indication of a threat to the Egyptians after just 13 seconds into the game. The fact of the matter is that we were outplayed, outclassed and outmaneuvered by a superior team on its home turf. While we may often enjoy such games, as we have a good record against African teams (aside from North African sides), we were playing against a team with almost an entirely European-based squad while we only had Basel’s Mohamed El-Nenny and Salah, Hull’s Elmohamady and Lierse’s Hossam Ghaly.

The formation Bradley opted for needed a smooth pitch and great discipline. That wasn’t available on the given matchday. When playing with no strikers, you psychologically imply to your players your primary concern is not to concede any goals, more so than worrying about how to actually score. That gives a psychological defensive attitude when playing the ball, which means more caution and wariness. This also means you lose the ability to pressure from the upper third of the field, which leads to more attacking pressure on your players. This can only be absorbed by having defensive-minded players at their utmost to minimize mistakes and counter a willing strong opponent on his home turf; in Ghana’s case – coming at you with full speed. This formation style also dictates you have good passing players as you’ll be relying on smooth passes between constantly moving players, particularly the attacking wingers and the attacking midfielder (trequartistas), switching flanks and mesmerizing defenders with speed and accuracy.

The rain worsened the pitch, which deemed any good passing game useless. This gave a huge advantage to the hosts who kept plying on the pressure on a clearly dysfunctional defense, who started to wane from the first minute of the game. Naguib’s timid pressure on Gyan for Ghana’s first was for me the time where Bradley should have started to think about actually subbing his clearly disoriented centre-back who didn’t cope well with the matchday pressure. It was downhill from the starting 10 minutes of the game, and the only glimmer of hope came when Bradley switched his formation to a more attacking style with one striker and a supporting one in Salah and Abou-Treika, aided by Soliman coming in from the left flank.

A high ball ended up to Salah who gave Egypt the team’s only bright moment of the game, which came after a few minutes of constant pressure that resulted from Egypt switching to a more attacking and more balanced formation, especially since Treika’s goal was countered almost immediately with Ghana’s third. This can also be claimed to come from the same main issue: timid defense and lack of discipline. The stage was set. The circus show was in full party mode and the Egyptians were not given a breather, and so few were the “honorable” mentions wearing Egyptian jerseys. In fact, the players I will express my admiration and respect didn’t ever wear red yesterday. Ekramy showed he was tough despite all the criticisms that he was bombarded with and El-Shennawy proved he has potential despite giving away a dubious penalty.

Ghanaian Delight, Egyptian Misery

Having said so, what can we expect from the second leg in Cairo? Nothing, in my opinion. Which in itself is a luxury. A few of the world’s teams play for nothing. We are only going to be playing for pride, which hardly seems to be restored any time soon. Nevertheless, professionalism and pride dictate that we play and have a good game. If there is one thing we should be doing, it is not actually surrendering. Odds are that we will still lose that last game but we will be burying ourselves if we don’t play well and at least, the very least, win. Circumstances can change, and at least a good result will only slightly float sorrow faces in the Egyptian football scene. It will be Bradley’s last chance to improve his reputation that has been tarnished by one of the worst nights a national team coach can go through. Therefore, I suggest in a totally biased and opinionated sense, my own vision of how the Egyptian NT should line-up in the return leg in Cairo.

Ekramy or Shennawy in GK is no surprise. Gomaa because he is the only reliable alternative in Egypt’s pool of centre-backs and I would give Rabia his chance, even though he prefers the defensive midfield position. I would give the second centre-back position to Adam El-Abd or Fathallah, but despite my admiration of El-Abd, both are very error prone. Abdel-Shafy remains to this day the best Egyptian left-back because of his torrid running, and good crossing ability. He deserved to be playing in Kumasi.

In midfield, the issue of the defensive midfielder is an Egyptian nightmare in itself. Ever since Mohamed Shawky’s form dipped to an incredible low, Egypt has been suffering in that position, giving Ghaly, Hosni Abd-Rabo and Ibrahim Salah a chance to create this place as their own. Hossam Ashour, who has often been said to have been treated unjustly for not getting picked for his national team despite playing constantly for Ahly, well, the Ghana match will not look good in his portfolio of matches. Ghaly remains one of the only consistent central midfielders Egypt has at the moment, unless Bradley decides to actually change his mind and pick Ahmed Hassan. Ghaly and Hassan have that box-to-box ability, defending and attacking at will. Egypt’s midfield needs that.

Shikabala deserves a starting berth with the national team. Despite his problems, he is yet to cause one with the NT and it is one of the areas where he is actually unjustly treated. He deserves a chance to present himself from the start and where better than a game in which no one actually expects anything that matters? Lastly, a striker. Just to counter everything about pressure in the final third that I already mentioned, plus a finisher in the box is needed to try and get some goals.


Finally, the only player I genuinely express my utmost deepest sorrow to is Mohamed Abou-Trieka. This legend is one of a kind. There are not many players who when are in the deepest, most blackened of situations have incredible ball control, vision, passing accuracy and willingness to fight all combined to produce quality classy football. Treika was one match away from achieving his dream in 2009, and up until a few days ago, he was two matches away from reaching the World Cup. The 34-year-old trequaresta almost did it by being the top provider and joint top scorer of the qualifiers.

It was probably the last we hear from Treika on an international level, since he announced his plans to retire at the end of his current Ahly season; but at least we might be able see him face the likes of Bayern Munich with Al-Ahly in Morocco if the Egyptian giants manage to win the CAF Champions League and reach the FIFA Club World Cup.

Karim Abdoun is an avid Egyptian football fan and blogger. For more of his work you can visit his blog.



  1. guru

    October 20, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    Egypt is a good footballing nation and the respect between Ghana and Egypt has always been mutual. The issue is that right now as it stands, Ghana has a strong upperhand over Egypt in terms of 1 on 1 player quality. A team that can put the likes of Mubarak Wakaso, Agyemang Badu, Kevin Prince Boateng, Christian Atsu on the bench and still have a quality starting eleven is too quality. I see Ghana beating Egypt again in the second leg. which is not bad afterall we need good African representation in Brazil. Egypt football will bounce back later.

    • Pharaohs still #1

      October 20, 2013 at 6:26 AM

      No, not at home. Egypt will win this time, maybe 3 or 4, 5 would be nice too… and Ghana if they qualify will do nothing in the world cup, they had their chance vs Uruguay but Gyan couldn’t convert a penalty twice time, he and Ghana are the biggest disgrace in African history in a world cup ever.

      • EGY

        October 20, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        I wouldn’t love anything more then for Egypt to qualify but I wouldn’t exactly class reaching the world cup quarter finals and being a penalty shot away from the semis a “disgrace”

      • guru

        October 20, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        Be realistic with your expectations otherwise heart attack is knocking

      • Charles

        October 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        i admire the way journalist in Egypt critic ghana egypt match. its never done in Ghana.missing penalty is part of the game. Egypt should forget about the 2014 world cup.Ghana deserves to be there.Egypt should prepare their minds for another defeat at their background. they should also not complain about thhe grass. Just provide a good condition for football and see what the Black Stars can do anywhere at any time.

        • White Knight

          October 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM

          I am Egyptian and I will say if we played again with the same players and tactics 10 games, we will lose all 10 games. Pharaohs still #1, you’re a loser bro, you have no pride, and you’re making Egyptians look bad, stop being in denial. Good Luck to Ghana in 2014, I hope they represent African football well on the world stage. I don’t have much expectations for the second game, even if Egypt was to win, which I believe is IMPOSSIBLE, we will win by 1 or 2 goals.

          • Ali AbdUl

            October 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM

            white knight your right about the squad, very horrible squad and wont win anygames. but why are you calling pharoahs #1 a loser, what is he doing wrong he cheering for his country to pull of a miracle. Your the one who lost your pride, dont insult a brother, he probably the only person i have seen so far who thinks egypt could pull it off, wich i respect. Dont forget we scored 3 goals on brazil, 4 on algeria so its not impossible to score 5 goals, its very rare but miracles happen in football


    October 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    @pharaoh still #1 You are an idiot! tell us if suarez didnt grab Adiyah`s goal bound header against uruguay,would Ghana have gone to the semis or not?? because even the worlds best players like messi,cr7,xavi,balotelli all have lost penalties in crucial games..penalty kick is like rolling dice..u have 50/50 chance…
    and weather u like it or not,we shall continue the DEMOLITION project against pharaohs next month.

    • Chineke

      October 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Is that insult necessary? We all bear with our brothers in Egypt the turmoil going on there. It’s a big achievement having come this far but the disruption of the local league has taken a toll on the players and this is the result.

      • Abo Treika

        October 20, 2013 at 11:21 PM

        Chineke, thank you for your comment. This ignorant Ghanson is posting negative and insulting comments all over an Egyptian website, including an article that was dedicated to Abo Trieka (an African legend) and his pending retirement – Ghanson needs to get a life. All I hope for is that Egypt put on a good professional and proud display, and that the fans will also be respectable to a fantastic Ghanaian side which I am sure will represent the continent very well next summer.

        • GHANSON

          October 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

          @Abo what u gonna do about it?And what u gonna do about the egyptians who come to gsn to post hateful comments…lol well before the 6-1 thrashing

          • Pharaohs still #1

            October 22, 2013 at 4:50 AM

            Good luck in Brazil and get thrashed there by weak teams like URgay. U will never get to the 2nd round like South Africa. Forget it and forget ur team.

          • KWAME NKRUMAH

            October 22, 2013 at 7:14 AM

            U AGAIN – GHANSON,, Damn! Wooow!!! and there comes CHINEKE GOD..I believe
            Kingfut is going to be like Zamfoot and Ghanasoccernet and dont forget Ghanaweb/SPORTS..So GHANSON wasup?. hahahahahaha, are the PHAROAHS and the TUTUNKAMONS on your nerves of sumtn ?. Hhahahahaha..What abt that BOKO HARAM dude, the NIGERIAN Chineke??. ahahahahaha . This is going to be fun here ahahahahahaha.. Me my day Buddy.looooool – —

          • KWAME NKRUMAH

            October 22, 2013 at 7:22 AM

            @-GHANSON, common dude, RESPECT the EGYPTIANS for they brought CIVILIZATION to the world and I even have a seed there with FATHIA..Errm!!
            what did u say abt the NEUTERAL ground return scoreline agianst Egypt on the 19th
            Nov, ?. I- forgot GHANSON, can U Umm!! sort of REPEAT THE RETURN MATCH
            Scoreline to me cos I cant say anytin as i am KWAME NKRUMAH- looool.

  3. Nana King

    October 21, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Ghana Vrs Egypt Date: 19-11-2013 Venue: (Neutral Ground)
    Ghana Starting XI
    Fatau Dauda, Samuel Inkoom, Harrison Afful, Isaac Vorsah, John Boye, Michael Essien, Andre Ayew, Kevin Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sule Muntari.
    Back up: Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Opare, Jerry Akaminko, Rabiu Mohammed, Abdul Majeed Warris, Christian Atsu, Mubarak Wakasu, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, Jordan Ayew

    PREDICTIONS are welcome………….. lets read them.


    October 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Ghana 18-1 Egypt.
    Another goals galore

    • Pharaohs still #1

      October 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Ghana will win 100:1 this time and will easily beat Brazil 10:0 in the final of the world cup 2014….

      Wake up dreamer, Ghana will lose big time in Cairo, and if Egypt score 2 or 3 goals , everything will be possible. Goals can happen anytime.

      • GHANSON

        October 25, 2013 at 12:14 AM

        So u think while egypt is scoring all these goals our players wil be just sitting down looking? hahahah u dont know man…loook we can even choose to play 0-0 just to frustrate pharaohs the most.But our boys cant help it.They love to score!! and score!!! SO better watch out …maybe egypt will need 2 goalkeepers in post cuz theres gonna be a lot of balls coming to ur goal at 150 mph…. down shot too….lol


    October 22, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I think Ghanson is right, the demolishing project must continue unabated, and i also believe that, this is the beginning of a total demolishing of the entire Egyptian football structure, why do i say this? the junior sides of Egypt, both under 17 and under 20 is in shambles, it is no where near the point where they can fill the gaps in a reputable side like the Pharoas and that to me is more scarier than losing 10:0 to Ghana. it is just that a 3:1 guaranteed loss to the black stars at the neutral venue is unavoidable. Egypt must psych themselves for another dose of bitter pills, since ”A BLOW WHICH IS INEVITABLY YOURS, THE EARLIER ENCOUNTERED THE BETTER” GHANA 3 EGYPT 1

    • Ali AbdUl

      October 22, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      last time i checked the u20 egyptian team won the african cup and beat ghana twice in that cup, so your point is incorrect about our youth system.

  6. Pharaohs still #1

    October 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Stop talking nonsense, white traitor. Egypt can make it, but not with fans like you. Go cheer for teams like Lesotho, Somalia or Ghana. But real fans support their teams till the last second.

    • Ali AbdUl

      October 23, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      pharoahs still #1, whos the comment referred to?

  7. Pharaohs still #1

    October 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    @Ali AbdUl: to White Knight 🙂

    Anyways today were some Champions League games which ended 0:5 like:
    RSC Anderlecht – Belgium 0 : 5 Paris Saint-Germain – France
    Bayern Munich – Germany 5 : 0 FC Viktoria Plzen – Czech Republic

    So gooo Pharaooohs, you can do it too!!! Just the same result and Ghana is out!

    • kwez

      October 31, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      The only problem is that Ghana is not as weak as Pilsen or Anderlecht and Egypt is not as strong as Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain. I am not saying Egypt is not capable of beating our black stars but you will certainly not beat us 5-0.
      Regarding your comment, saying that Gyan and Ghana are the biggest disgrace in African history in a WC ever; where was your fellow Egyptian team when Gyan missed the penalty in the quarter finals? Surely at home, watchin the game on TV and cheering for the black stars. Stop trying to put us down for something your team hasn’t even achieved yet!

      I just hope for a fair and peaceful return leg. May the better team win!

  8. John Mensah

    October 24, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    After beating Ghana and wining the cup how many of these u20’s are in the senior national team? That is where the shambles begun, if u check out Ghana, the Agyemang Duah, CK Akunnor and the Kwame Ayew generation replaced the Abedi pele and Tony Yeboah generation, and the stephen Appiah tony baffoe generation replaces the Agyeman Duah and CK Akunnor generation, whiles the Muntari, Essien, laryea Kingston and Asamoh Gyan Replaced the Appiah generation, currently you see Dede Ayew, Jordan, inkoom, Opare, Agyeman Badu, rabiu, Jonathan Mensah, Wakasu, Kwadwo Asamoah, John boi, Adiyeah and the rest taken over from the Muntari, Essien, Gyan generation, all these transitions were made through from u17 to u20 then to Black stars, example can be said of Muntari, Gyan, Essien, Dede Ayew, Opar, inkoom, rabiu,and Samuel Osei Kuffuor. All these players and many more played all levels of junior football before transitioning into the senior team that is proper planning. Ghana will continue to doeminate in Africa for another decade to come due to this sacrosanct all important and citizens endorsed structure of Ghana football.

    • Ali AbdUl

      October 24, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      why would a coach bring inexperienced player into a big world cup qualifer. All they young players in ghana from the u20 team have alot of experience and quality. ours have no experience and most of them didnt play in a league match in years due to the turmoil in egypt right now


    October 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    @Ali AbdUl …Oh so you know there has been TURMOIL in EGYPT for some years now huh??? So tell me why would you invite a visitor to come play with you at your home knowing theres a serious fight going on in ur household??? Huh please answer me…

    Like I said before,theres nothing stopping Ghana from going to Brazil.We are just worried about the situation in Cairo. But if Egyptian Army says it is safe to come and play then we are on our way! Don`t worry pharaohs its not gonna be 6-1 this time..Remember Jordan and Dede didnt score @kumasi…well now their itching to score so a hat trick each for them.That alone is 6..Then depending on how we feel we can just continue with more goals from A.Badu,K.Asamoah,C.Atsu,and Warris…that`s 10 goals right there…I mean Spain did it to Tahiti with no mercy at all so why should we stop scoring…We need to send a very strong message to our opponents at the WC…that no team is immune to the wrath of this very Black Stars team..


    October 25, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    In SA 2010…The world watched as Ghana was robbed in broad day light…We were robbed …This is how…we had a 100% chance to be in the semi finals and finals…Adiyah`s header was a clean,open goal bound ball when the chipmunk suarez grabbed it…The goal shouldve stood but instead ,they FIFA ref/officials took away our 100% chance and gave us 50% chance which was the penalty Gyan missed…It is never guaranteed that a player will score every or a particular penalty…Now all our goal bound balls are in the form of a fireball >nobody can touch em…straight to goal…bring out all the so called big teams…Ghana WELL PREPARED!
    Brazil 2014 GHANA WILL REJOICE!!!!

    • Ali AbdUl

      October 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      please top commenting no one likes you here. andi used to respect ghanians but someone like you just makes me hate them your desecrasing ghana and africa. please man justdont comment any more, your rude, stupid, bring up stupid stuff and just annoying as hell. even ghanians on this website say youdo this kind ofannoying stuff on every african website.ali

      • Redd

        October 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Our egyptian brothers should please ignore that Ghanson.We ghanaians are brothers with all egyptians and we will not allow football to come between us.Egypt won the AFCON in 2010 by beating ghana.We cried but we accepted it and moved on.Today we are reaping the benefits of analyzing what went wrong and corrcting them.Same way egypt may be out of the WC 2014 but if you can accept this and move on you can never tell…Egypt may become the first african team to reach the finals of the WC.And when that happens be rest assured that all your brothers in ghana will be shouting for Egypt…and for africa.Up pharoahs,up black stars and up african unity.


        October 26, 2013 at 4:05 AM

        @-Ali Abdui who told U nobody likes GHANSON, I like that guy he is funny hehehehe..FREEDOM of SPEECH.. Looooool. Ghana is not like EGYPT..Ghana is a REAL democratic country..We only chooses LEADERS thruu the ballot box and If a party dont agrees , we goes to court,, We dont make a coup nor a mutiny to spoil our economy like EGYPTIANS..

  11. ihabramada

    October 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Not trying to break a leg here, but the first game is over. Ghana won, and with lots of goals. Good for them, after all, a strong African team makes everyone else better. We should be happy that we have such a great side as Ghana. Unfortunately, we had to play them under the circumstances we have at home with no League and some sort of a generation shift.

    Meanwhile, for ourselves, we need evaluate what Went wrong and what we need to do. This is not a matter of this game, its a matter of the football system in Egypt. I live in Sweden and had the opportunity to work in Egypt as a football coach, I was intended to stay there for a long time only to leave after a few months. The Academy manager Zakaria Nassef tried to do a great job but the overall system in Egypt does not support any new ideas nor any progress of what is more important, the coaches. Players, youll find everywhere, even in the desert, but good coaches does not grow on tree.

    I watched the show with Shobeir after the game, and must say, that I do agree that we have ourselves to blame. After winning 3 consecutive tournaments, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and against great teams such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Ghana. We should have asked, why are we doing so well, and if we want to continue this, how do we maintain this form and development. But as anything else in Egypt, we are happy for the moment and we are satisified that we win local tournaments in the continent rather than setting a long term goal such as for instance advancing to the World cup. Only then, we will quailify, but if we continue with this lack of organization and planning, we will struggle every qualifications, just as weve done the last 6 times since 1990.

    Football is not only about Fielding 11 great players, its about a mentality, we should never be happy or satisified that we are winning local cups or tournaments, our vision should be much higher than that.

    Good luck Ghana, and who knows? There is a second leg, football has its weird and surprising Days, just look at Liverpool against Milan in the final, who would have thought they would get back with 3 goals, and in the end, win it?

  12. Pharaohs still #1

    October 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Well said, Mr.Ihab. Like coach El Sayed said, we should at least reply to the defeat of the first leg. Winning at least 2 or 3:0 or more. Let’s wait and see.

  13. Pharaohs still #1

    December 7, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Thanks Allah, Egypt didn’t qualify… Let’s see how Ghana will beat Portugal and Germany easily and win the World cup!? Group of Death is waiting for you, black stars… as i said before, play your 3 games and come back to Africa :)))

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