Sometimes, It's Good to be a Follower
If you’re Egyptian, then there was probably a phase in your life when you’d play football with friends on a regular basis (you probably still do every now and then). It has nothing to do whatsoever with your level of skill or how much you like/dislike the game, it’s simply part of the genetic code of almost every member of the male species who was born and/or grew up in this country. So you’ve probably come across at least one of the guys listed below:
You’d be forgiven for mistaking this guy at first glance for a genuine professional, plying his trade in Europe’s top leagues, who –for some reason that is entirely beyond your comprehension– decided to get on a plane and join you guys on that awful excuse of a football field. These guys take their football attire very seriously and will buy the original full kit of the team they support from the official store in
Europe, while the rest of you peasants are wearing what can be best described as a weird hybrid between a pajama and a spandex fashion crime.
Some of these guys are actually quite skilled at football, while the others mainly rely on the element of fear their impressive uniform instills in the hearts and souls of their opponents. Yeah… good luck with that. Finally, these guys will ask their friends to take cool pics of them during the game which they later post on social media accompanied with hashtags along the lines of #wo7oosh_elmal3ab #fitlife #BeastMode #no_guts_no_glory #Workhard_Playhard… etc.
This guy is the human embodiment of everything that is wrong with football (and the entire human race, really). He’ll stop at nothing to get his way and snatch a victory over the opposing team, using a variety of not-so-subtle cheating techniques. At the faintest touch from an opposing player, this guy will act as if he just took a bullet to the heart in a performance that would put Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel to shame. We’re talking Oscar material here.
On the other hand, he will –without even a hint of hesitation– break his opponent’s nose with a well-placed fist or elbow, but when the foul is called he’ll swear by all that this holy that he wasn’t even near the now-fallen victim. He will do so with a look reminiscent of a guy who has just been falsely sentenced to death by the electric chair. In most cases, during this conversation, the blood of the poor injured player would be dripping off his clothes.
These guys also seem to suffer from a very specific eye condition that scientists and doctors all over the world have failed to find a cure for: when a ball has very visibly and clearly crossed the line into their team’s goal, they will do absolutely anything to convince the rest of the players that it never did! That includes taking the matter to court and bribing the judge to give a verdict in their favor.
They make up for their lack of talent with vast, almost endless knowledge of the football world, dating back to the 1930s (which is also why the accuracy of said knowledge can rarely be verified). They are religious followers of all the European leagues and are seemingly a lot more informed about player transfers than the agents who conduct the actual deals between clubs for a living. So they mainly shine during the short breaks between games, during which they’ll show off their knowledge by giving a status update addressing the current state of affairs of football globally (in addition to a quick but precise analysis of recent matches of famous teams).
It’s very much like watching the news, besides the fact that the guy is covered in sweat with stains on his armpits as opposed to his shirt and tie counterpart. Their updates are usually appreciated for their entertainment value rather than their informative one.
The moment this guy steps onto the pitch, the overall mood suddenly shifts from a relaxing night out to have fun and relieve some stress to a very tense and nerve-racking affair. Watching them bark out instructions to every single member of their team, you’d think they were playing at the World Cup final as opposed to an abandoned playground in the middle of nowhere.
The Hothead typically considers himself a master football strategist and takes it upon himself to make sure that every single detail of the game plan is strictly followed by his teammates. Failure to abide by his rules will result in very unpleasant repercussions. So if you’re in defense, you keep your ass there and better not find yourself wandering further up the pitch! It’s also worth mentioning that The Hothead and The Cheat are destined for an everlasting battle for the title of “sorest loser”.
Egyptians will typically book a football field for a couple of hours because it’s usually just enough time to break a good sweat but not feel like you’ve been run over by a train come the end of the 2 hours. However, should Mr. Popular show up, even though the booking would still be for two hours, the actual play time will probably be cut down to maybe 45 minutes. You see, Mr. Popular is one of those people who have got the phone glued to their ear 24/7. The guy’s got a social life to maintain, which is more than he can say for you lifeless losers.
So expect the game to be interrupted every 10 to 15 minutes because he needs to answer his phone which just won’t seem to stop ringing. All pleas to leave the phone and continue playing shall fall on deaf ears because it’ll be a cold day in hell before Mr. Popular ignores a call from his girlfriend in favor of chasing a ball with 10 other stinky guys on a hot night in Cairo.
Sometimes, It's Good to be a Follower