Legendary former Al Ahly coach Manuel Jose is concerned that Egyptian youth are losing their passion for football due to the ongoing stadium ban that has been in place for domestic competitions for most of the past six years.
A stadium riot in Port Said in February 2012 during a game between Al Ahly and Al Masry left 74 people dead and fans have been unable to attend games regularly ever since. A partial lifting of the ban was announced two months ago but it only allowed 300 fans into league games.
Jose, who was in Dubai last week for the launch of the Wadi Degla Football Academy, of which he is the technical advisor, is hoping to create a new generation of young players that have a different mentality and possess burning passion for the sport.
While Mohamed Salah has been an unrivaled inspirational figure for all Egyptians, Jose notes that there are few young role models in football for the upcoming generation to look up to.
“We want these kids to be modern type of football players,” the Portuguese retired coach said at the academy launch at Al Wasl Club.
“Egypt nowadays has a problem. The government is trying to open the stadium doors to the fans.
“These days, kids don’t go to the stadiums with their parents. And that means that this passion for football will start to die. We have to produce new players with a different mentality.
“We need the stadiums to open their doors, put politics to one side, and allow people to go watch matches live. These days kids only watch football on TV.
“The golden generation in Egyptian football has gone. I won with these players, Egypt won with these players, and now the only famous stars are Mohamed Salah, and in Egypt, Abdallah El Said, more or less.
“[Mahmoud] Trezeguet is young, Ramadan Sobhi, they are young. What do you want more? Hadary? Hadary is in the museum now with Ramses II,” he said of the 45-year-old veteran goalkeeper.
“What do these kids see? A match on TV. I can’t see a live football match for 15 minutes in a stadium. On TV they watch Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City or PSG or Bayern Munich. The big stars only.
“I’ll give you an example. Write this. Championships finished in Egypt in March, at the end of last month. The next time you can watch another championship is in seven months, in October. It’s unbelievable.”
Wadi Degla is the first club from Egypt to bring an academy to the UAE. Operations will start at two locations — JSS International School in Dubai and Ajyal Sports Centre in Sharjah.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for an emergency meeting of the governing body’s council to discuss a 25billion US dollars (£17.9billion) plan to overhaul the Club World Cup and set up a new national league.
Press Association Sport understands that the proposal, which was first revealed by The New York Times earlier this month, would see the current Club World Cup change from a seven-team tournament held every winter to a 24-team competition staged every fourth summer.
The first possible edition of the expanded tournament would be in 2021 and it would feature 12 European teams made up of the finalists from the four previous Champions Leagues and the four previous winners of the Europa League.
If, as likely, that did not add up to 12 different teams, the dozen would be completed by the next best-ranked teams according to UEFA.
South America’s Copa Libertadores would provide four more teams and Africa, Asia and North America would get two places each, with the champions of the tournament host and the winner of a play-off between a South American club and the Oceania champions getting the last two spots.
The teams would be split into eight groups of three, with the winners of each group then entering a straight knock-out tournament. Each team, therefore, would play at least two games and the finalists would play five.
FIFA believes the 31 games could be played in 18 days but, perhaps most importantly, generate £2.15billion – a massive increase on the value of the current Club World Cup.
The details of Infantino’s new national league are sketchier but it is understood that the competition would involve leagues at confederation level – as UEFA and North and Central America’s CONCACAF region have already scheduled – with the eight best teams then progressing to an international knock-out tournament.
The first edition of the “Final 8” would be in 2021 and it would be worth a guaranteed £700million in broadcast rights, with subsequent quadrennial tournaments worth almost £3billion.
All of these figures, however, are based on a rights offer from a mystery consortium of investors, which is understood to include SoftBank, the Japan-based technology conglomerate.
Under the proposed agreement, FIFA would cede control and all revenue streams to the investors in return for a guaranteed lump sum. This would enable Infantino to repair the damage caused to the governing body’s bank balance by the 2015 corruption scandal and meet his 2016 election pledge of quadrupling the amount of development cash each member association receives – a timely boost ahead of his attempt to secure a second term as FIFA boss next year.
The plan, however, faces considerable opposition. When it was first raised at a FIFA Council meeting in the Colombian city of Bogota last month, UEFA representatives voiced their concerns about the new tournaments’ potential impact on Europe’s existing competitions and player burnout, while several councillors were annoyed that Infantino would not tell them more about the investors.
The president claimed he could not reveal more because he had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the group but said he wanted the council’s backing to continue negotiations with the investors, as they wanted an answer within 60 days.
This apparent need for haste is why Infantino has now written to the other members of the 35-strong FIFA Council asking for a rare, emergency meeting in the coming weeks. It is understood it has been tentatively scheduled for mid-May.
In a statement, a FIFA spokesperson said: “As agreed in Bogota during the last council meeting, the council members were given detailed information on the ongoing discussion with potential partners.
“A meeting with the confederations will take place in due course but no date has been set yet. Further consultation is also ongoing with the different stakeholders on potential changes to the FIFA Club World Cup.”
Here, we analyse the performance of Giroud, whose sublime goal sent Chelsea on the way to their 13th FA Cup final appearance.
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on target – 1
Touches – 38
Passes – 25
Key passes – 1
Dribbles – 3
Dispossessed – 0
We got the best of both sides of Giroud in the second semi-final of the weekend, with the former Gunners’ striker failing to fire in the opening 45 minutes at Wembley. As good a player as he is and the mismatch nightmare he often provides for defenders, he often finds it difficult to get into games, and that was the case in an anonymous first-half.
But he started the second as he meant to go on, putting Chelsea ahead within seconds of the restart. From then on he was heavily involved as the Blues bossed the game and looked to kill the tie off.
Magic – Giroud had hardly been in the game during the first 45 minutes. But like all great players, they can change the game in an instant, and he certainly did that. Still with a lot to do when receiving Hazard’s pass, the Frenchman showed plenty of flair to weave past three defenders to pull out a magical finish and put his side ahead. What a goal. His second one of the season in the FA Cup.
Digging deep – It wasn’t the big man’s game in the first half. But rather than wallow and whinge about a lack of service, he rolled his sleeves up and went looking for the action, dropping a little deeper to help his side set up attacks.
Runs – It wasn’t happening for the striker in the first half as Chelsea had all the possession but failed to find that killer pass to get the goal their dominance deserved. Part of that was down to Giroud’s lack of intelligent runs, which gave the lively Eden Hazard nothing to aim for.
Aerial ability – For a player so adept in the air, it was puzzling to see Giroud not using his head. He tried the spectacular when Fabregas chipped a delivery into the box in the first half, when a header could have led to a goal.
25th min CHANCE: Hazard is causing the Southampton back line all sorts of problems and he surges to the byline and cuts the ball back to Giroud, but excellent defending prevents the Frenchman from being able to get an effort in on goal.
39th min CHANCE: Fabregas clips in an intelligent ball to the area, Giroud inexplicably goes for the spectacular and scuffs his shot, although he gets a second chance but volleys that one just wide.
40th min FOULED: The striker sets up a Chelsea attack by dropping deep to receive possession. The ball is played into him and he lays it off for Kante, but Giroud is clattered in the process by Yoshida, the Japanese defender earning a deserved yellow.
46th min GOAL: Stunning finish from the big man. He’s done precious little up to now, but what an impact when he does do something. Hazard does well to tee him up but there’s still plenty to do in a crowded penalty area. Giroud shows wonderful feet to dance round three Saints defenders and prod home. Stunning finish.
55th min FOULED: Chelsea win the ball back and Giroud looks to set up an attack, playing the ball to a teammate before he is scythed down by Romeu.
The former Arsenal man came into the game looking to continue his love affair with the FA Cup, having scored 10 goals previously in the competition, and he did just that as he played a starring role in getting his side to the final. We often talk about the magic of the FA Cup and Giroud produced a moment that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Harry Houdini routine, finding the key to unlock the Southampton defence to score his 10th goal in the cup.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com