Richard Whittall:

The Globalist's Top Ten Books in 2016: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Middle East Eye: "

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer is one of the weightiest, most revelatory, original and important books written about sport"

“The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer has helped me immensely with great information and perspective.”

Bob Bradley, former US and Egyptian national coach: "James Dorsey’s The Turbulent World of Middle Eastern Soccer (has) become a reference point for those seeking the latest information as well as looking at the broader picture."
Alon Raab in The International Journal of the History of Sport: “Dorsey’s blog is a goldmine of information.”
Play the Game: "Your expertise is clearly superior when it comes to Middle Eastern soccer."
Andrew Das, The New York Times soccer blog Goal: "No one is better at this kind of work than James Dorsey"
David Zirin, Sports Illustrated: "Essential Reading"
Change FIFA: "A fantastic new blog'

Richard Whitall of A More Splendid Life:
"James combines his intimate knowledge of the region with a great passion for soccer"

Christopher Ahl, Play the Game: "An excellent Middle East Football blog"
James Corbett, Inside World Football

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egyptian Team’s Tarnished Image Rides on Soccer Match against South Africa

Egypt’s national soccer team may be ill-prepared for this Saturday’s crucial African championship match against South Africa, but the popular revolt that last month ousted President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power has heightened its motivation, according to the squad’s controversial coach, Hassan Shehata.

A seven-time winner Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt, which is languishing at the bottom of its group, needs to defeat South Africa to revive hope of qualifying for the finals. The team is gearing up for the game with professional league matches suspended for the past three months as a result of the popular revolt that toppled Mubarak.

"The game is going to be tough because all local competitions have been halted for a while, and we didn't prepare well for the match. But what I'm sure of is that the players are high-spirited; they became more attached to Egypt after the revolution," Shehata said in an interview on Egyptian TV.

Shehata and the team have more than just qualification riding on Saturday’s game. Egypt’s performance could decide the fate of Shehata, a crowned former player and coach, whose career may depend on his squad’s performance against South Africa.

Some supporters of the team have demanded Shehata’s resignation because of his support of Mubarak at a time that thousands of fans were demonstrating against the former president. Shehata has also been criticized for failing to bring new players into the national team.

Similarly, fans have taken players to task for staying on the side line during the popular revolt rather than supporting it. At a recent friendly played by Al Ahly SC, Egypt’s most popular club and important supplier of players to the national team, fans held up a banner saying: "We followed you everywhere but in the hard times we didn't find you."

Shehata conceded that his team needs to shore up its image. “Everyone is looking to change the wrong image of us that was conveyed of late. We represent Egypt's name and hope that people wish us good luck, because it's not about individuals,” Shehata said.

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