The National Sport of Egypt is Soccer.
Soccer in Egypt is passionately cherished, bridging communities with its vibrant fan culture.
To learn more about sports culture in Egypt, read our article about the most popular sports in Egypt.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1882: British expatriates in Cairo establish the first recorded football club.
- 1921: Formation of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).
- 1920-1929: Egyptian national team’s first international match and participation in the Olympics.
- 1934: Egypt becomes the first African country to participate in FIFA World Cup.
- 1957-1962: Al Ahly and Zamalek clubs dominate African club football, winning several championships.
- 1986: Egypt wins the African Cup of Nations for the first time on home soil.
- 2019: Egypt hosts African Cup of Nations, serving as an opportunity to showcase their football heritage.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer holds a significant place in Egypt’s cultural identity with their local and national teams uniting the country in times of joy and despair. The two biggest clubs, Al Ahly and Zamalek, fuel the intense Cairo Derby, a rivalry that animates the metropolis and Egypt as a whole.
The national team’s success in the Africa Cup of Nations has solidified soccer’s importance within Egyptian society. Fans gather to watch matches on big screens, sharing in the excitement whether it be during continental competitions or the FIFA World Cup.
Locally, amateur matches can be seen in neighborhoods and streets, with passion and rivalry fueling sandy playground encounters. Soccer brings Egyptians together, transcending barriers of religion, social class, and geography.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
In recent decades, Egyptian soccer has evolved with the emergence of young talents, many of whom now play for clubs in Europe, raising the profile of the country on the global stage. The national team’s continued success in the Africa Cup of Nations attests to the depth of talent in Egypt.
Technological advancements, such as the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR), have aligned Egyptian soccer with the global standards, ensuring fairness and accuracy in decisions. The Egyptian Premier League also benefits from enhanced camera coverage, analytics, and scouting systems.
Increasing investment in soccer infrastructure, youth academies, and coaching resources across the country has modernized Egyptian soccer. The nation continues to develop promising generations of players, solidifying Egypt’s status as a powerhouse in African football and beyond.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a consistent part of the Olympic Games since the early 20th century, with Egypt participating in its first Olympic soccer competition in 1920. The Egyptian national team has made numerous appearances throughout the Olympic history, with notable achievements such as reaching the quarter-finals in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
The Olympics have played a crucial role in elevating soccer’s global recognition, providing a platform for countries like Egypt to showcase their athletic prowess and engage in international competitions. The Games have encouraged talent development and exchange among nations, fostering a spirit of unity and sportsmanship.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Mohamed Salah: Arguably Egypt’s best-known soccer player, Salah has enjoyed immense success in European club football, notably with Liverpool FC. His captivating performances led Egypt to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and earned him consecutive African Player of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018.
- Hossam Hassan: Egypt’s all-time top scorer with 68 international goals, Hassan is a symbol of the national team’s golden era in the 1990s. He scored crucial goals that led Egypt to the 1990 FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations titles in 1998 and 2006.
- Essam El-Hadary: A legendary goalkeeper, El-Hadary boasts a decorated career spanning over two decades, including Africa Cup of Nations victories, record-breaking appearances, and becoming the oldest player to feature in a FIFA World Cup at the age of 45 in 2018.
- Aboutrika: An influential attacking midfielder, Aboutrika was a vital cog in the successful era both for his club, Al Ahly, and the national team. He played a significant role in Al Ahly’s 2006 and 2008 CAF Champions League titles and Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations victories in 2006 and 2008.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- On TV: Egyptian Premier League matches and international events can be viewed on channels such as Nile Sports, Time Sports and beIN Sports.
- Streaming Services: Online platforms like Watchit, beIN Connect, and DStv Now offer live streaming of games and soccer highlights.
- Live in Egypt: Experience thrilling matches at prominent venues like Cairo International Stadium, Borg El Arab Stadium (Alexandria), and Al Salam Stadium (Cairo).