Foreign Policy Blogs

Mabrouk to Egypt

The Egyptian National soccer team has won the Africa Cup of Nations, beating Cameroon 1-0 in the finals in Ghana.   Cameroon captured the continent during its stirring 2004 World Cup run (your humble writer watched the game in a bar in Tanzania, and the crowd was going nuts), but now Egypt has won.  It is Egypt's 6th African Cup title.    Here's a quick recap (from Al-Ahram)

The Pharaohs, as they are fondly called, scored the lone goal of the game in the 77th minute when Mohamed Abu-Treika slotted into the net a Mohamed Zidan pass after Lions skipper Rigobert Song clumsily failed to clear his area.

Al-Ahram also has an editorial on the meaning of the game, which starts a little, um, shaky:

They said it could not be done — an off-white country capturing the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) in darkest West Africa, home to the continent's mightiest teams. And indeed, despite being defending champions, Egypt was some way down the list of pre-tournament favourites, an afterthought kept in the shadows by the likes of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

(I am not sure who said it couldn't be done, as it is the 6th title for the country- but, I suppose, athletes everywhere get motivated by “shocking the world”. )

The article leaves behind the wierd racial stuff, and becomes a very interesting read.

Underneath the street confetti, the cup will not put LE50 worth of meat on the table. It won't pay those light bulb bills. It won't increase a pension already meagre. It won't send your child to that fancy language school. It won't fix the apartment cracks. It won't buy an apartment in the first place. It won't stave off bird flu.

It won't open or seal Rafah or usher in a Middle East peace. It won't stop job-seeking migrants from drowning off the cost of treacherous waters. It won't stop buildings from collapsing. It won't find bread or drinking water.

It will not improve civil liberties or a human and civil rights record. It will not lead to change, to reform, to more democracy. It will not stem systemic corruption. It will not persuade people to care about one another. It will not decrease increasing poverty and moral decay. It will not shake off the widespread feeling of discontent.

The cup cannot guarantee a future beyond today.



Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is a freelance writer currently based out of Chicago. He has lived in Egypt and in Yemen, and worked as a writer and editor for the Yemen Observer publishing company. He currently is an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.