Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1383, (1 - 7 March 2018)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1383, (1 - 7 March 2018)

Ahram Weekly

All you need to know about the World Cup

From Russia, Inas Mazhar reports on Egypt’s participation in the 2018 World Cup team workshop

The Egyptian delegation
The Egyptian delegation

During a four-day workshop in Russia, 250 delegates and representatives from all 32 countries which qualified for the 2018 World Cup were given the opportunity to learn all about the tournament, especially since the workshop will be the last time all the competing nations gather before the football extravaganza begins in June.

The workshop, which was held from 27 to 28 February, covered various aspects of the competition in a range of informative sessions. The member associations were requested by FIFA and the local organising committees to participate in the workshop with representatives in the areas of football/technical matters (team coaches), medical (team doctors), media, accommodation, security, logistics, transportation and marketing.

Being one of the 32 countries which qualified for the World Cup, Egypt took part in the workshop with an eight-member delegation including board member Karam Kordi as head of the delegation, team manager Ihab Leheta, assistant coach Carlos Jose Fantaguzzi, analyst Mahmoud Fayez, team doctor Mohamed Abul Ela, logistics and accommodation officer Mohamed Salah, Ossama Ali in marketing, and a media officer.

According to Leheta, the workshop was a great opportunity to finalise everything for Egypt’s stay in Russia during the event.

“We were here in December for the draw and we selected with FIFA and the LOC our team-based camp city and the hotel, visited the city’s training grounds where we will be training. In this workshop, we plan to confirm all the details as it would be our last chance before the actual participation at the World Cup,” Leheta said.

“We also checked a hotel in Sochi in case Egypt makes it to the second round since Sochi will host the round of 16 matches. We have to look at everything. We need to start looking for a hotel when the whole country will be fully booked. Now we know our destination and accommodation should we go to the second round.” Leheta added, “Now each of us knows exactly what to expect when we arrive for the competition in June and what to do and whom to deal with.”

The medical session was held before the workshop began. According to Egypt’s team doctor Abul Ela, new regulations will be implemented in this year’s World Cup.

“Doctors will know the kind of injury a player has sustained on the pitch even before treating him on the field. The assistant doctor will be sitting beside a technician who will be filming the match and will inform the team doctor on the bench about the extent of the injury through an earpiece which connects us, for example, telling me it is a head injury or a calf injury, etc. This is to help doctors since it’s sometimes difficult to see what kind of injury it is from afar.

“In case of a head injury or sudden death, doctors would be allowed onto the pitch even without the referee’s permission. They would just have to give a certain sign that they have agreed on and rush onto the pitch. In this case, the referee can stop the match for up to three minutes,” Abul Ela said.

Only three-and-a-half months remain until the World Cup begins — from 14 June to 15 July — and final preparations continue in the host nation. For the 32 teams, it was also time to learn more about Russia’s organisation of the tournament.

The reason behind the workshop - one of the most important stages of the tournament – is its significance for both the teams and the host nation itself. The workshop was essentially the last opportunity for countries to find out about key elements of the World Cup’s organisation.

Furthermore, it was a chance for teams to better understand the efforts of the host nation in organising the tournament. Of the 32 countries in the group stage, only five were in Russia a year ago for the FIFA Confederations Cup: Germany, Portugal, Australia, Mexico and host Russia.

“As we took part in the Confederations Cup last year, we have a general idea of what to expect at the World Cup,” said Russia’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, who attended the workshop. “But the World Cup is significantly larger and more complicated from an organisational point of view, so it’s going to be interesting to learn about it in more detail in Sochi. And for Russia as the host nation, it’s another chance to welcome the 32 teams and tell them how hard we’ve been working for this tournament.”

Eleven head coaches were among the workshop delegates, including former French skipper Didier Deschamps and Heimir Hallgrimsson, the man who led Iceland to the tournament for the first time. Several other footballing legends were also among the travelling parties, such as Jorge Burruchaga, 1986 world champion and Argentina’s current team manager, Fernando Hierro, Real Madrid’s giant defender and now sporting director of the Spanish Football Federation, and star player Nolberto Solano, who is now Peru’s assistant coach.

FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura, who opened the workshop on Tuesday, said: “FIFA, the LOC and the Russian authorities have been working very hard to ensure that the participating teams are catered for with the highest level of infrastructure and services.

“The team workshop is the moment when the member associations familiarise themselves with the result of this hard work and with what awaits them in a few months’ time in Russia. It is yet another opportunity for Russia to showcase how it is ready to welcome the world during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
The southernmost host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Sochi was handed the honour of hosting this prestigious event. “Sochi is proud to be the first host city of the World Cup to welcome international guests in 2018,” said Russia 2018 Host City Ambassador Sergei Metreveli whose father Slava was one of the most famous footballers to come out of Sochi, having appeared at the 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cups, as well as winning the UEFA European Championship in 1960.

Said Metreveli: “Last year, during the Confederations Cup, we showed that we’re capable of hosting top football teams and their fans. Now the whole city cannot wait for the real festival of football, and to meet supporters from all the different countries.”

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