Egypt: On Winning the African cup of Nation, Ghana 2008

Ask any Egyptian, he’d tell you that last Sunday night, February the 10th, wasn’t like any night.. a night like “thousand nights”.. Egypt won the African Cup of Nations in Ghana 2008 after a fierce match with Cameron 1-0. A marvelous score in a beautiful ditto between Abu Tarika and Zeidan.
Egypt won.. Celebrations was almost every where on each and every street in Egypt, as well as in many other Arab countries.

Mona El Shazli [1], started her 11th of February episode from “El Ashera Masa’an” with this phrase:

“By the referee’s Koffi Coudja’s whistle, he didn’t –only- mark the end of the match, but an open invitation for thousands and thousands of Egyptians to go to the streets and celebrate the victory. And let the Egyptians live a night of mere happiness, like they’ve never been happy for so long.
And what really astonished me not how the Egyptians were happy, but how other Arab countries were as happy as well. A splendid night indeed, with such unity of feelings all around.”

Under the title “Reflections of the blessing of consolidation with Gaza” [2], Arabawy extracted a part from a BBC article:

“Defending champions Egypt won a record sixth Africa Cup of Nations with a fully-deserved victory over Cameroon. The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute when Mohamed Aboutrika pushed home a Mohamed Zidan pass after a mistake by Cameroon’s Rigobert Song.”

Adfortiori described in his blog post “Masr! Masr! Masr!” the reactions that followed the match on the streets:

“For a country that is so deeply impoverished and repressed, constant frustration gave way to almost inexpressible joy. The girls on my floor sobbed uncontrollably, and so did some of the men on the street. Cars stopped willingly for young men bearing flags, drums, and flaming aerosol cans. Voices, hands and horns combined flawlessly in the same universal 1, 2, 3 and 4 rhythm and vocabularies were reduced to “Mabruk” “Masr!” and “Oh lay, Oh lay” no matter how comfortable you were with Arabic.”

Zeinobia -as well- commented under the title “We are the champions”:

“The sounds of the horns began to be heard , I swear if I have energy I would go to the street in the car with my camera. Today Egypt will stay in happiness till dune. Hard luck for the Cameroon , they played great still people of the Cameroon forgive but we need this victory more than you , we need this joy , this happiness.”

Just to mention, this is Egypt’s sixth time to clinch the tournament's title, and the second in a row after last year's win in Egypt. The this forced The Arabist –like many other- to question:

“But is anyone competent enough to explain why the team always screws up when it comes to qualifying for the world cup?”

Shaheda, or the Myrter wrote :

اشار منتخب مصر انه سيتم التبرع بجزء من مكافأة الفريق اثر فوزه لبناء مسجد في كوماسي عاصمه غانا” حسب معلوماتي الضعيفه رياضيا ” .. وحسب ما اظن سيكون اول مسجد يبنى في كوماسي … جزاهم الله خير الجزاء …

“The Egyptian national team hinted that part of its reward would be directed towards building a mosque in Kumasi. And as far as I know, that would be the first mosque there. God bless them. “

Arab bloggers joined in the celebrations too.

From Moroco:
Kaoutar, under the title “Boss, shoof, Masr bte3mel eh!” or “Look, Learn from what Egypt is doing” wrote :

“Compared to many other teams – and I wouldn’t exclude the Moroccan national team – the Egyptians have proved that mastering the game itself is not the only prerequisite for a squad to become champion. Nor is it the abundance of financial resources. The team spirit that reigns has a real magic effect. Look how respectful they are towards each other and towards their coach and how united they are even in the way they thank God after each goal.
And then look how ruthless they are during the whole match. The way they play makes you feel that they truly care! I am not writing poetry here, but I did see the Egyptian legendary “namoutou namoutou wa ta7ya Masr” (we would die to give life to Egypt) dominating the game during yesterday’s match.”

From Jordon:
Roba, wrote under “On Winning”:

“And so this year, the Iraqis won the Asian Cup and the Egyptians won the African Cup. The commentator yesterday was going crazy over that. Well, mabrook to both the Iraqis and the Egyptians, who have both finally given us Arabs something to enjoy. I wish I captured the energy at the little corner cafe in Shmesani as the watchers yelled, shouted, and threw advice at the television, until everyone finally jumped and started clapping and cheering when Abou Treika put in that winning goal. I hope they both have good luck at the World Cup qualifiers.”

From Yemen:
Omar Barsawad wrote a post with the title “A well deserved win for The Pharaohs”:

“Last evening, with a little help from a mistake by the Cameroonian captain — Rigobert Song — defending champion Egypt defeated Cameroon 1-0 and won the trophy of the Africa Nations Cup for the sixth time! A record of the continental tournament. The Egyptians, as always, were: controlled, organized and continuously kept attacking. And they won despite being infancied to win in Ghana.
What is most admirable and applaudable of the Egyptians, is that — unlike all major soccer teams in Africa and the Arab world who depend on expensive, foreign coaches — Egypt has one of their own as the coach: the shrewd Hassan Shehata. Shehata has succeeded in winning the African Nations Cup after failing three times as a player for his country. Congratulations to Shehata and to Egypt! Hopefully Egypt will take their dominance and keep their momentum into the build up towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Hopefully, a team from Africa will win the cup — then.”

For Palestine things were totally different. For what Abo Tarika did, showing his inner T-shirt written on it “Sympathy with Gaza” meant something even deeper than what he really was thinking. And it –really- turned him into “a hero” in everyone’s eyes.

Noura Yunis, an Egyptian blogger, started the talk with a thank you to her Palestinian friends who congratulated her last night after the match, and mentioned a piece of news from El Jazeera:

قناة الجزيرة: عشرات الفلسطينيون تجمعوا مساء أمس بعد المباراة أمام مكتب التمثيل المصري في غزة، والجانب الفلسطيني من معبر رفح، رافعين أعلام مصر

“Hundreds of Palestinians gathered yesterday after the match in front of the Egyptian representation office to the Palestinian national authority, raising the Egyptian flags.”

But that was not everything.
Nawara Negm, an Egyptian blogger, wrote two posts – one immediately after the match, with only one word and a picture..

“Abu tarika”.. and the picture says “We are all Abu Tarika” for young Palestinian students in their schools.

Later on she explained -in another post- why she cried when she saw those other two very moving pictures.

Palestinians kissing the famous picture of Abu Tarika.. with the “Sympathy with Gaza” written on his T-shirt.

We Love you Egypt.

And from Palestine, Hiyam confirmed the above image stating:

“I have never before seen the Egyptian, the Pharos football team so strong – and never before I have seen such a life spirit and such remarkable people as the Palestinians – they will never, never give up the struggle. The Palestinians on Gaza Strip celebrated and encouraged the Egyptian football team to win, in the finales between Egypt and Cameroon, in the Football Championship of the African Nations, on February 10, 2008.
At a time when the Israelis have besieged Gasa Strip, and after the closure of the wall erected by the Israelis in 2005,between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, Palestinian football fans was carrying posters depicting the Egyptian football player, Mohammed Abo Tarika, in his world-famous T- Skirt, with the words ” Sympathize with Gaza”. written on the inside of the T-Skirt..”

A well deserved victory. A well deserved best goal keeper for “Esam El Hadary”, A well deserved best player in 2008 African Cup of Nations for “Hosni Abd Rabou” [3] and a well deserved thank you goes to the man of the match “Abu Tarika” for his playing and his respectable way of expressing his opinions, despite how Google removed Abu Trika’s “Sympathize with Gaza” images from the internet.

[1] Mona El Shazli: A young female Egyptian presenter, who is famous for her talk show “El Ashera Masa’an” or 10pm. The show discusses daily local affairs. Al Shazli proved to be a great success because of her knowledge, and simple way of presenting.
[2] Arabawy was hinting tp the moment when Egyptian footballer Abo Tarika showed his T-shirt with the text “Sympathize with Gaza”, in the Sudan Vs. Egypt match during the African Cup of Nations in Ghana 2008.
[3] Both “Esam El Hadary” and “Hosni Abd Rabou” are players in the Egyptian national football team.
[*] you can see a few more photos in here:


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.