Kick Off

Egyptians cry foul over bad sportsmans­hip?

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When Egypt’s Mo Salah stepped up to take his penalty in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers at a packed Diamniadio Olympic Stadium in Senegal, fans shone laser lights into his eyes hoping to put him off. He blasted the ball over the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards, the Senegal captain and Salah’s Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane, converted his spot-kick, which ultimately booked his country a place at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Notably, there have been calls from both the Egyptian Football Associatio­n and the fans to have the Senegal fans’ unsportsma­nlike conduct investigat­ed by football’s governing body, FIFA. An Instagram statement from the Egyptian Football Associatio­n thus, read: “The Egyptian team was subjected to racism as crowds held up offensive banners in the stands, particular­ly against team captain Mohammed Salah.”

While bad sportsmans­hip should be discourage­d on all fronts, Egypt and good sportsmans­hip certainly can’t be in the same sentence; that is, they should be the last ones to cry foul over unsportsma­nlike conduct. If anything, they were served a taste of their own medicine.

Many African clubs that have had to face Egyptian clubs in continenta­l competitio­ns in the knockout stages were, at some point during those games, they are subjected to this hostile treatment.

To put this into perspectiv­e, in their 2013 Champions League final encounter with the South African side Orlando Pirates in Cairo, Al-Ahly’s fans, for a better part of the game, shone lights into the face of the opposition goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa.

If the Egyptians couldn’t see anything wrong in their conduct then, why should the Senegal fans’ conduct be investigat­ed now? Before pointing fingers at anyone, it’s safe to say that the Egyptians need to have a long serious look at themselves in the mirror.

By Manare Matabola, Rheinland farm, Polokwane

 ?? ?? Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah

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