Egypt Independent

Sisi to receive national football team at presidential palace



President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet Saturday the football national team to bid them farewell before traveling to Russia for the World Cup, which starts on Thursday.

The whole team will head to the presidential palace, except for Saad Samir who is currently in Russia. Team manager Hector Cuper, and other team officials will also be present.

Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel Aziz, and members of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Football Association, headed by Hany Abureda, will also attend.

Bassam Rady, official spokesman for the presidency, said that Sisi is keen to meet the team to morally encourage the team ahead of the World Cup.

The meeting is a tradition followed by the heads of different countries of teams participating in the World Cup to lift the players’ spirit.

Egypt’s team played five friendly matches in preparation for the World Cup against Portugal, Greece, Kuwait, Colombia and Belgium.

Belgium’s game on June 6 in Brussels will be nine days before the Egyptian kick-off in the World Cup against Uruguay on June 15. This kick-off has been awaited by Egyptian fans for 28 years.

Egypt will play its first match in the World Cup against Uruguay on June 15.

It will then play against the host, Russia, on June 19 before facing Saudi Arabia on June 25.

The Egyptian team will have its last training at 10 pm at Cairo Stadium before kicking off to Grozny, Russia.

Cuper preferred to hold the training publicly to motivate the players, especially after the severe criticism they suffered from because of poor results and performance during the team’s last camp where they faced Kuwait, Colombia and Belgium.

All the players, including Mohamed Salah, are expected to participate in the training.

Some political, sports and public figures will attend the training upon an invitation from the Football Association. Journalists who obtained permits from the Association will be allowed to attend as well.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm