The day cinema, Egyptians played spoilsport

Like many Arabs, I was feeling proud that four Arab countries had reached the world cup. I had high hopes that at least one of the teams would reach the round of 16. Of course, my hopes were crushed each time I heard about the bitter loss that each team had. I even had witnessed one of those crushes in the form of the match between Egypt and Russia. My aunt and I went to watch it in Qurum’s Vox cinema.
We were rushing as we expected the cinema to be busy for this match.
Funny enough, we were the only viewers with another two men joining us much later.
The first half was exciting and I was full of enthusiasm and energy as I clapped and shouted: “Yallah Salah!” every time Mohammed Salah approached the goal.
The Egyptian commentator kept us entertained by his comments regarding the height of the Russian players: “And this player is 1.96 metres tall!” “He doesn’t need to jump to reach the ball for his height!”.
The first half ended well and I was really sure that by the second half, the Egyptians would score the first goal.
But as we say in Arabic: not everything you wish for comes true! And this what happened in less than five minutes when Ahmed Fathy scored an own goal that threw the whole team into an obvious panic.
The Russians took advantage of the situation and secured two more goals which were three minutes apart (actually I thought the third goal was a replay of the second one before realising it was a new goal!).
Although the situation was really grim, we didn’t lose hope and kept cheering for Salah.
It was the time for the penalty shot by Salah when the screen went dark.
It switched on again but this time with the usual advertisements that preceded movies.
It was already 11.30 and there was a movie starting in half an hour.
There were still fifteen minutes left of the game, so while the two men left peacefully, I was ready to put up a fight to continue watching the game till it ends as I’d paid RO 7! I ran to the manager and reported the situation TWICE before they decided to switch the screen back to the game.
By then, Salah had already scored a goal and there were ten minutes left of the game.
Miracles can happen! Regrettably, at this game they didn’t.
The game ended with the Russians winning the game and us leaving the hall with long faces.
I sent a message congratulating my Russian friend Viktor for winning the game, describing it as a “heartbreak”. Viktor wasn’t really happy with the adjective used and stated that their victory was expected anyway.
The fascinating part was the post-analysis of the game that many shared happily.
My friend Mohammed dissected the game for almost 10 minutes blaming the failure on the coach with the terminated contract and Salah’s underperformance.
The Egyptian pharmacist described the team’s performance as “clowning around” and wasn’t planning to watch their last game against Saudi.
Egyptian Facebook users lashed their anger on the group of Egyptian artists who broke into the team’s training grounds — the day before the game — and partied till the early hours.
Many predicted an easy win for Egypt on their final game.
They lost 2-1.
The next morning, I watched a video on Facebook where Egyptian supporters stood at the stadium gates hurling abuses their own players.
A real sad exit for a team that managed to reach the World Cup.
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.
rashabooks@yahoo.com