Egypt completed a fairytale gold run at the IHF Youth (U-19) World Championship 2019 in North Macedonia. The junior handball team’s victory was not a coincidence because sports have become more than a hobby; it is an industry, science and locus of management.
The junior team played a high-paced game and showed outstanding efficiency in attack, thus taking control of the game early on. Egypt has had an amazing journey at the tournament, having topped their group stage after defeating Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Canada and Hungary.
Those following the team rather closely will notice the rapid development achieved during the past few years, climbing the ladder to get their bronze medal last month. Earlier, the senior team managed to compete with the leading teams in Europe. Such efforts simply mean that whenever our youths have the will, they’ll find the way. We are trying to do that not only in sports, but also in all the country’s sectors.
Watching members of this team rang a bell. They look very much like the young Egyptians taking part in the youth conferences. The same open mind, feeling of responsibility and collective spirit. Their relationship with their coaches and managers is crowned with respect and discipline, simply because they are willing to learn from their mistakes and looking for perfection.
Such features have become commonplace for our youths and a good reason to feel more optimistic about the future.
Being on the right track means that our youngsters will be able to make their own stories of success. They are well-acquainted with the latest developments in their field of expertise, willing to change and to learn. Moreover, they think in a rather scientific way which helped them study carefully each and every step on their road. Most of them are not self-centered and they work hard for the team and for the country, which makes their achievements invaluable for every one of us.
The strategy behind the handball team’s victory has certainly changed. A decade ago, the team embraced a defensive strategy. The game was played in a systematic way that makes it hard to score. There had been rare attempts to push from behind, and the role of the wings was only to exchange balls.
Egypt's junior handball team participated in several junior handball competitions and the first appearance was in the inaugural African Men’s Junior Handball Championship in 1980 in Nigeria when the team placed third. Two years later, in 1982 in Benin, the Egyptians found their way to capture the first African and international title and qualified for the 1983 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, finishing 13th rank at their first appearance. Later, in 1993, Egypt was the host country, a first for a country outside Europe since the inaugural of the championship in 1977 in Sweden.
The Egyptians exploited the home court advantage and with a great player generation they stunned all followers and the media and found their way to the final match against Denmark where they won it. Thus, the stage was set for the eighth edition of the tournament held in Macedonia. In the final match, the young Pharaohs were the better side as they took a lead, and further extended their lead throughout the match. It is no wonder that the Pharaohs became the fifth team to win the competition since its inception alongside Denmark (3 titles), France (2 titles), Croatia, and Serbia and Montenegro, and the very first non-European champion.
The young Egyptians proved to be strong, efficient and capable of taking victory when they cooperate and coordinate their efforts. Inserting modern management techniques will open up new horizons for the country’s productive and services sectors. The new techniques and strategies currently adopted by the managers of the handball team are the outcome of sound planning and are the key to success. The team managed to blend local expertise with the internationally recognised standards, kept their eyes wide open on the most recent and the state-of-the-art of technology in administering the junior team.
That type of administration is what we need now. There is no place for random choices, confusion, and improvisation. We must be inspired by their victory and make it our beacon in all aspects of life, to help this country develop and improve standards of living for all our people.