Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1398, (21 - 27 June 2018)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1398, (21 - 27 June 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Egyptian invasion

photo: Osama Abdel-Nabi
photo: Osama Abdel-Nabi
Al-Ahram Weekly

EGYPTIAN fans are literary taking over Russia in their first World Cup appearance in 28 years. And, they are definitely making the most of it.

Tens of thousands of Egyptian fans flew into Russia to support their team in their campaign at the World Cup and they are doing a good job. They have not only been supporters of their team but have mingled with other fans from other countries in a bid at mutual cooperation to support each other.

According to FIFA, Egypt is one of the top 10 countries which purchased online tickets for the World Cup since sales started almost a year ago.

The streets of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, the three cities where Egypt plays its group stage matches, are entirely conquered by Egyptians who are making their nation proud with unconditional support for their national side. Egypt’s Ambassador to Russia Ehab Nasr said the number of Egyptians and other Arabs who attended the Egyptian match against Uruguay reached 27,000 while the number of Egyptian spectators alone exceeded 22,000. Even though the number is extremely impressive, it’s expected that this figure will double against Russia on Tuesday 19 June in the must-win game for our national team.

Videos and pictures of Egyptian fans on the streets of Russia are going viral on social media, showing their passion and support and giving their all in their first World Cup appearance since 1990, aiming to push the players to do the undoable and beat Russia and Saudi Arabia and make it to the next round against all odds that are tipping Uruguay and Russia to make it to round 16.

What’s even more impressive about the Egyptian fans in Russia is their behaviour. They’re not just flooding the streets, mingling with fans from all around the world, making new friends, singing and chanting for their national side but above all are making sure they make their nation proud by steering clear of problems, unlike the troublemakers of some other nations. Egyptians are everywhere, if not in the stadium, then on the streets, hotels, coffee shops, touristic sites and all means of transportation. They are donning the Egyptian colours of red, white and black and carrying the Egyptian flag and playing musical instruments. They are many and move in groups with discipline, cheering and singing famous Egyptian songs, teaching locals the Arabic language and urging them to join in.

Apart from the fans, charter flights are arranged on the days of Egypt’s matches, carrying national public figures, celebrities and former players to Russia to support the national side, all aiming to see Egypt beating hosts Russia to stand any chance of qualifying to the next round.

On the other hand, Egyptian fans are not only invading Russia but their nation as well. In Cairo, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, men and women of all ages gather wherever there are giant screens, in major squares, sports clubs, youth centres, schools and universities, coffee shops and hotels, all over the country. Interestingly, they are doing the same things as their peers in Russia. All don the colours of Egypt as they cheer and chant for their beloved team.

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