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How are Egyptians leading the way for American football in the region?

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How are Egyptians leading the way for American football in the region?
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Egypt is the only nation in North Africa which is home to a domestic American football league.

Whilst traditional football remains the country’s mainstream favourite, the American version of the sport is rising in popularity.

The number of players today is ten times larger than when the league first started in 2014, with just 100 players.

And just like their US counterparts, clubs in Egypt boast evocative and animalistic names like the Hell-Hounds, Wolves and Bears.

The Hell-hounds team celebrate a victory in the Egyptian league

“Now, we've reached close to 1,000 active players, between males and females,” says Mohei Omar, head coach of GUC Eagles. “We started with 5 teams, now we are 16 teams.”

For Omar, Egyptian fans relate to the sport as it mirrors something in their cultural DNA.

“The best thing about American football is that it displays a lot of grit and heart. I think as a culture, and as a community, Egyptians have that,” he explains. “They have the potential to show so much girt, so much heart and so much passion.”

Egyptian American football fans cheering for the Wolves

Despite growing support and enthusiasm for the game, American football in Egypt faces still many hurdles, not least a lack of funding.

“With the financial support that we could get from sponsorship in the coming years, we’ll be investing a lot of that in developing our coaches and our referees,” says Amr Hebbo, chair of the Egyptian Federation of American Football.

Whilst ambitions to host a competition similar to the American Super Bowl may be a little premature at this stage, Hebbo and his football playing peers are convinced that one day they’ll win international competitions.

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During an American football league event, Youssef shared a photo of himself, his sister and his friends, all Cairo Bear Players.