Egyptian National Team Leaves Football Experts Puzzled

K ShakranSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2008

After winning their sixth African Cup title over rivals Cameroon, Egyptian players have grabbed the attention of many European clubs like Lyon, Getafe, and Manchester City.

Egypt has a handfull of players playing outside of Egypt in great leagues like the EPL and the Bundesliga. But to the surprise of everybody witnessing their formidable play during the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana, more than 90 percent of the team's players were a product of the domestic league. On that note, one name that jumps out to the Egyptian fans is Al-Ahly star Mohammed Abo Trika.

Since joining the Egyptian African Club of the Century, Abo Trika has won 13 titles with Al-Ahly, helping the club win the Bronze Medal at Fifa Club World Cup 2006. On the international level, he has won two consecutive African titles with the Egyptian National team.

The 29-year-old scored the title winning goals for the Egyptian National Team in 2006 against the Ivory Coast and against Cameroon in 2008.

In addition, he was also nominated for the African Footballer of the Year in 2006 going against Michael Essien and Didier Drogba, who play for one of the biggest clubs in the world. 

Does Abo Trika play for any of those big clubs in Europe? Not that I know of. 

Right before the 2008 African Cup of Nations, many football experts nominated the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, and Morocco to win the title based on how many players were playing in the different clubs of Europe. 

Despite winning the 2006 version of the African Cup of Nations, Egypt was predicted to leave the tournament in the first round of the competition. But they proved experts wrong and won it.

Basing predictions on how many players the Ivory Coast has playing in Europe does not provide enough proof that they can win the African Cup of Nations.

The Egyptian league has taught world-wide experts that African-European fame does not mean it all. The key difference noted in Ghana 2008 was the sense of unity that the Egyptian national team exemplified.

When I think of the Cameroonian national team, Samuel Eto'o pops up.

When I think of the Ivory Coast national team, Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure pop up.

When I think of the Egyptian national team, all 11 players pop up!

And as Greg Lalas wrote in his New York Times article "Egypt Ready to Take on the World," "Egypt are the Brazil of Africa. Here on the continent, they know this. The rest of world will find out soon enough."