Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Shameful soccer

In the final of the Arab Championship, brotherly Arab love was not on display as the Egyptian referee was physically assaulted, Marawan Zayed reports

Arab Championship

Egypt is ready to host the 2017 men’s Under-23 Volleyball World Championship in Cairo with the participation of 12 teams, including Brazil, Cuba, host Egypt, Japan, Mexico and Poland in Pool A. Algeria, Argentina, China, Iran, Russia and Turkey are in Pool B.

Russia is the defending champion, defeating Turkey to claim gold at the 2015 edition of the World Championship in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

The venue in Cairo, which also hosted the 2001 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Boys U-19 World Championship, is being equipped with new flooring for the competition.

Amr Elwani, vice president of the FIVB (Federation Internationale De Volleyball) and head of the African Volleyball Federation (CAVF) said he was “very happy as an Egyptian to see my country being able to host such big events and compete with world champions in organisation. It is an enormous opportunity that we have to make great use of, especially that Egypt comprises a number of resorts in the Red Sea that can make it capable of hosting international events all year round from volleyball to beach volleyball.”


Esperance

Fouad Abdel-Salam, president of the Egyptian Volleyball Federation (EVF) and head of the organising committee, said “we are very lucky to be honoured with organising such a huge event. The third edition of the U-23 World Championship in Cairo will mark the first time the competition moves to Africa, after the first two editions were held in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. This is a great opportunity for our players and for our country to send a message to the world that Egypt is safe and capable of hosting big events.” Abdel-Salam added that Khaled Abdel-Aziz, the minister of youth and sports, has given the EVF “a great helping hand” to be able to host the event and that the ministry was able to import all the volleyball equipment and flooring from abroad without paying customs.

The opening ceremony of the men’s U-23 World Volleyball Championship will be held on 18 August and an invitation to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has been extended to attend the opening and share with the Egyptian volleyball players their joy. Egyptian singers Hisham Abbas and Amira Reda will be the opening day stars.

Tickets will be available starting 11 August at Cairo Stadium and in Gezira Youth Centre. There will be a golden ticket for LE500 which will allow the lucky winner to attend all the matches including the opening and closing ceremonies in a front row seat. Tickets are being sold for LE100, LE75 and LE50.

Led by newly appointed Brazilian coach Marcos Miranda, Egypt has begun its final preparations ahead of the championship which ends 25 August. On Saturday, the African champions trained for the first time at the Cairo Stadium complex, which will serve as the venue for the championship.

“Our objective is to qualify for the second round among the top eight teams in the world with this promising squad,” Miranda said.
“Most of our players will soon be with the senior team and it is our role to give them enough international experience at this golden age,” he added.

Hassan Al-Hossari, the national team coach, said the U-23 national team is targeting three goals from participating in the event: “To try to better their rank as they are 10th place internationally and need to be able to qualify to the quarter-finals; to give a good impression about Egyptian volleyball; and be able to play among world champions and against big names which will give them more experience in the future.”

Egypt has also been playing a series of friendlies against the U-19 national team to get used to the new regulations. Egypt will also take on Turkey and China in friendlies ahead of the championship.

“This championship will witness for the first time the application of the FIVB new rules where all the teams will play best of seven sets, each 15 points instead of four,” Hassan Ahmed, the championship’s manager, said.

Ayman Anise, head of the referees committee, said 60 referees are being tutored ahead of the championship on the new rules.

Qualification for the championship wrapped up with Iran and Japan advancing from Asia, after topping the age-group Asian Championship this week in Ardabil, Iran. They will join host Egypt, South American champions Brazil, European qualifiers Poland and Turkey, Pan-American Cup top teams Argentina, Cuba and Mexico, and African champions Algeria. Although predictions for any age-group competition is dangerous territory, focus will be on defending champions Russia and the only other winners of the event, Brazil.

The brand new Asian champions Iran and Poland who dominated the European qualifiers last year would also be forces to be reckoned with. Poland will be one of three countries — together with Japan and Algeria — to be making their debut in the competition after missing out on 2013 and 2015. Held every two years, the U-23 World Championships are the latest addition to the FIVB calendar and have already featured stars and produced dream teams that have gone on to shine in the flagship tournaments of the international federation.

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