Egyptian handball team presented their best performance in the 2020 African Men’s Handball Championship in Tunisia and won their seventh title against the hosts on Sunday. The final game ended 27-22 for Egypt, giving the Pharaohs the prestigious title and a qualification card for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
This achievement was the result of persistence and determination of the team from the very beginning. Moreover, the state, represented by Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy, stood behind different handball national teams, which led the Pharaohs to win the bronze medal in Men’s Junior World Handball Championship and the gold medal in Men’s U-19 World Handball Championship last year.
The Sports Minister’s support wasn’t all just funding, but he was also there to make sure that the team was set up right. He did not hesitate one moment for approving the Egyptian Handball Federation’s request to hire Spanish coach Roberto García Parrondo. The coach was able leave his mark on the team and lead the Pharaohs through the African Championships and straight to the title.
Moamen Safa, the Egyptian Handball Federation’s treasurer and supervisor of the national teams and head of the current mission in Tunisia, expressed his great happiness for winning the African championship and qualifying for the Olympic Games, stressing that Egypt won one of the most difficult championships outside home.
The path of the Pharaohs in the tournament was great. They won the three matches of their group stage against Guinea, Kenya, and DR Congo, before qualifying to quarter-finals where they beat Gabon 36-17, and Angola 33-26. In the semi-finals, Egypt defeated Algeria 30-27.
Safa praised the great effort made by all players without exception, noting that everyone contributed to achieving the goal through commitment and discipline.
Egypt’s squad includes 21 players: Karim Handawy, Mohamed Ali, and Mohamed Essam as goalkeepers; Mohamed Hesham, Ibrahim El Masry, Wesam Samy, Ahmed Adel, and Khaled Walid as fullbacks; and Ahmed Al-Sayed, Dodo, Seif El-Daraa, and Ahmed Khairy as circle runners. In addition, Ali Zain, Yehya El-Daraa, Hassan Walid, Omar Bakkar, Ahmed Safa, Mohamed Sanad, and Akram Yousry play as wingers; and Ahmed Al-Ahmar, Yahya Khaled, and Mohsen Ramadan as centres.
Notably, the 16-team championship acts as the African qualifying tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship in Egypt. The best three teams of the 2020 African Championship will qualify for the Men’s World Championship, while the winner of the tournament will directly qualify for the Olympic Games.
Arab teams dominated the championship in its last 23 editions, starting from 1974 in Tunisia. The Carthage Eagles are the most crowned of the championship with 10 titles, most recently in 2018 in Gabon. Algeria ranked second with seven titles, followed by Egypt with six titles, most recently in 2016.
Ahmed Al-Ahmar, an Egyptian success story
Ahmed Al-Ahmar, the star of the national handball team, wrote his name in letters of gold in the history of Egyptian sport, after he participated in crowning the Pharaohs with the African title for the seventh time in history, and he also contributed to achieving many achievements and titles.
Al-Ahmar led the national team to achieve more than one title over last years and also participated in many international and international championships.
The Zamalek star
made many individual achievements as well, most notably wining the Man of the Match (MOTM) award in several games against Spain in 2007, Tunisia 2009 and 2011, Algeria 2013, Slovenia 2013, and Algeria 2015.
Al-Ahmar was named best left-back, best player, and top scorer in the 2016 African Men’s Handball Championship held in Egypt; best right-back in the 2004 African Men’s Handball Championship; and best right-back, best player, and top scorer in the 2008 African Men’s Handball Championship as well as the MOTM in four games.
In the 2010 African Men’s Handball Championship, he won the awards of best right-back, best player, and top scorer. He was also crowned best player in the 2007 and 2009 El-Ahram International Championships, as well as best player in the 2011 Arab Championship in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed Mostafa Al-Ahmar
Participation in African Men’s Handball Championship: 9
(Egypt 2004 –
Tunisia 2006 –
Angola 2008 –
Egypt 2010 –
Morocco 2012 –
– Egypt 2016
– Gabon 2018
– Tunisia 2020)