Ayman Essawy, Mohammed Shawky, Islam Shehata and Mahmoud Ashour this week scrambled to change flight details and book back into their hotels and are certainly glad they made the trip from Egypt for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The group only planned to watch Egypt's first two games, but have now been rethinking their itinerary with the Pharaohs performing so well in the tournament. "We came to the Confederations Cup to support the team, and to watch them play Brazil and Italy specifically, because even if we make it to the World Cup we won't get those two teams in one group, so we were lucky," said Essawy, who is now also staying for tomorrow's match against the United States.
All these young men are united in their love of the game. They all play football socially, but Islam Shehata has a stronger link to the team. He is the son of Hassan Shehata, the coach of the Egyptian national side. "I am very proud of my father, and what his side has achieved," said Shehata.
While visiting South Africa, the group has been surprised by the support Egypt has received from the local fans. "All the South African supporters are also supporting Egypt, we have seen this at all the games, and we have felt it. When we played Italy I think all the South Africans were supporting Egypt, inside and outside the stadium. That was a great experience for us," said Essawy.
The young men feel the excitement of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ around the corner and guarantee that they will be back next year. "After seeing the support for Egypt here, we feel that these guys will be with us in the World Cup."
"We feel that this is an African tournament. It is different to any other tournament, and it will be a very different World Cup."
The group are looking forward to the focus the continent will receive after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, "Everyone will start to think about hosting more championships in Africa, it will be a good chance for Egypt, maybe we can bid for the next one."
"South Africa has a good structure, it is impressive, even better than a lot of European countries," said Essawy. "We are going to tell people that they missed a lot in not coming here, and we will be encouraging people to join us for the World Cup, and they will be encouraged themselves by what they have seen on TV."
The groups parting message to the world of football is confident and clear. "Egypt and Africa are coming."