Saturday, June 20, 2009

Egyptian Connection

While the entire team is hungry for a result in the last game, at least one person on the staff has an uniquely personal reason for wanting a victory. U.S. goalkeeper coach Zak Abdel is a native of Mehalla, Egypt. His playing career included 16 years at Gazl-el-Mhella as well as time with Egyptian Olympic Team. Abdel faced current Egypt head coach Hasan Shehata in the Egyptian Premier League - even broke his ribs once! - and also played alongside their assistant coach Shwaky Gharib for 15 years with Gazl-el-Mhella. The two grew up on the same street, and will now sit on opposite benches tomorrow night.

Zak has been doing interviews for the last week with the Arab press. No surprise that Abdel is fully in the USA's corner, but the press were disappointed to learn that his family back home will also be firmly behind the U.S. team.

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