FilGoal | News | The mind that led a state bogged down in civil war to conquer the pharaohs


George Weah Legend of Liberia

There is no way for a developing country bogged down for years in the tragedy of the civil war to beat Egypt if not for having the best player in the world .. Fortunately for Liberia, it already possessed it!

Wednesday night, Egypt will play a friendly against Liberia at the Borg El Arab Stadium, a fight that will inevitably bring us back 22 years.

On 6 April 1997, Liberia won a 1-0 World Cup unanswered qualifying match against Egypt.

Liberia, a small town on the Atlantic coast west of the African continent, about a tenth of the size of Egypt and a smaller population than the inhabitants of Alexandria, performed the miracle on that sunny day of April 1997.

With a lean football history, the unknown clubs who bid farewell to the continental competition before their expiration, and a country ravaged by civil war, Liberia played Egypt in its third qualifying round, with more hopes high not to be torn.

Liberia was unable to host the home game, as the first civil war was entering its eighth year – and last – making Ghana the host nation on a mission that became easier for the pharaohs with their play on a neutral ground.

A bloody civil war has left more than a quarter of a million dead, whose Liberians will not congratulate its end in August 1997, until they are caught in a second civil war two years later.

For the years 90 it was enough for the Liberian people to forget the shape of the ball and its laws, just a unique and unusual case that prevented them from throwing them behind their backs: George Weah.

The current president of Liberia, the best player in the world in 1995, will break all traditions, make it impossible and remember his people for years that carrying weapons is not their only concern.

Arsene Wenger came to Africa specifically to take him to Europe in 1988, and seven years in the old continent was enough for Oia to be on the pyramid of world players.

"When I saw Weah for the first time, I felt like a child who found a sweet piece in his garden at Easter, I never saw a player like him.".. Wenger remembers his first memory with Weah.

Oh, he not only behaved like seven Verona players on the field, but he followed them with what made him the crowned king of his country, many years before he was elected president in 2017.

The man who played for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Milan, Chelsea and Marseille was a full-time sponsor for Liberia in the 90s.

With his money, he was eager to buy clothes for the team, book flights and hotel stays, even set aside awards to motivate his teammates to improve their results.

These efforts led to the first football result in Liberia's history qualifying for the 1996 African Nations Cup, there in South Africa, where they were canceled from the first round.

Returning from the other side in this match: Egypt lost in the second round of qualifying with a goal at Tunisia, after a great victory over Namibia in the first round.

This defeat against Tunisia computationally forced Egypt to win all four of its next matches, in order to match the Carthage Eagles in the points.

The Egypt will not prolong the expectation of its fans and will quickly greet a second consecutive defeat in the third round against Liberia in our game.

This defeat against Liberia George Weah was Mahmoud El Gohary's first game in his third term as an Egyptian coach, but who came to replace him in March 1997?

Well, there are conflicting gossip, perhaps Farouk Jaafar, perhaps Mahmoud Khatib, or perhaps Farouk Jaafar and Mahmoud Khatib.

This internal match of the Egyptian technical staff for almost a year was the talk of the road at that time. LaFFA failed to establish clear tasks and responsibilities for the establishment of Zamalek and the Al-Ahly symbol. The end came after the friendly defeat against Kuwait and the shock at home in Ethiopia in qualifying for the African Nations Cup.

Jafar and Khatib left and Egypt appealed to Johari, who was not full-time, but oversaw the training of the Sultanate of Oman, but he answered the call.

The time was very tight before the first list of El-Gohary was announced on March 24th. El-Gohary was not even in Egypt to follow his choice closely.

The Egyptian mission headed to Accra via Swiss Airlines after first stopping in Zurich, as Haitham Farouk remembers

Farouk was one of 11 players who started this game in Egypt, and his memory helped him remember the 10 teammates when we asked him about that day.

The formation of the pharaohs lost from Liberia was:

Goalkeepers: عصام الحضري Free registration

Defense: Ibrahim Hassan – Samir Kamona – Hani Ramzi – Haitham Farouk – Yasser Radwan

midfielders: Ismail Youssef – Tarek Mostafa – Ahmed Alkass

Forwards: Hossam Hassan – Ali Maher

"The whole night of the game was about George Weah and he studied his movements and how to deal with him and the role of each player in our defense to stop him."Farouk admits that then Al – Jawhary focuses on the Milan star.

His speech continues: "But when the game started, the big trick happened. We didn't know what to do."

In a previous interview with Ibrahim Hassan a few weeks after the defeat, Ahli's back then reveals: "During training they basically prepared me to watch George Weah, but Liberia deceived us. We were surprised that Weah played as a left-back."

And the top scorer, the striker who is very close to the goal, did not play in any of the attack centers or the center, but he participated in a position not influenced by the hands of Egypt.

At the 29th minute, the Egyptians understood why Weah was employed in this wonderful position, when he received a ball from the left and, instead of sending it to the cross, he shot straight into the narrow corner of the city.

Weah he left, pointing to his head.

At the age of 24, Al-Hadary made his first official appearance in Egypt, and will have to wait until the 33rd to start doing what made him the best and most successful goalkeeper in the history of Egyptian football .

But in 1997, he was hungry for Oia's make-up, and he played in anticipation, the ball marked the goal of a goal that Egyptian strikers will not be able to compensate for despite the many opportunities lost that day.

"We should have won this game with a large score.Haitham Farouk explains in his speech to

"The camp was bad"Farouk explains.

Ibrahim Hassan is in agreement: "The humidity was very hot, the heat is more intense and the tone is very bad. If Brazil had played with it, it would not have appeared correctly. I am not looking for reasons or arguments.

Did you hit the intrinsic when he focused all his attention on switching off and oh? "This is not a mistake, in the end it is the goal scored," answers Yasser Radwan

complements: "All our thinking was about Weah, he was the best player in Europe."

Intrinsic intifada

It is believed that this match was the border between the World Cup gold generation and the following years in Egyptian football.

Ahmed Elkass and Ismail Youssef have not received international convocations again and Jawhari has fired all the professionals in the next international stage to face Namibia.

El-Gohary relied on a group of young people such as Hazem Emam, Abdel-Sattar Sabry, Abdel-Zaher El-Sakka and Ahmed Hassan to be more and more continuous.

The Accra stadium, where the game was played in Liberia, will return to Egypt after 11 years, but this time it will win the African Nations Cup.

* Contributed to the report: Ahmed Al-Arian and Bassam Abu Bakr.

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