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Wanted: Players for Egypt hockey team

By Jane Barrett in Athens
August 21, 2004 19:29 IST
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Others scour Egypt in search of the Holy Grail but Asem Gad is going back to scour for a new hockey team.

After Egypt's 11-0 drubbing by South Korea on Saturday, Gad was in despair about the lack of fire on the field and said new blood and a new culture were needed to break through.

"If these boys can't do well then we need to change them. Let's go out and find sportsmen and teach them hockey from zero," the Egypt coach fumed after the match.

Egypt has tomb paintings of hockey players dating from millennia ago but now has only 16 teams to pick players from and very few training facilities. A series of bad defeats in Athens is unlikely to persuade people it's worth investing in more.

"How can they lose like that? Everyone has the flag of his country on his shirt. How can he not defend his country? There is a corruption of spirit here."

"Today they played like a secondary -- or even primary -- school team. There was no emotion, no fight, no cooperation."

Gad also said Egypt needed to leave behind traditional ways and make the most of every tool in sport, training their minds as well as their bodies.

"In Egypt we don't go and confess to a psychologist. But they really need a psychologist," he said.

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Jane Barrett in Athens
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