Critic James Murua started #AfricanWriterWorldCupSquad in 2014:
He imagined an all-Africa squad, writing:
The task is simple really. Choose three goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight defenders and five strikers to send to [Russia] like in any world cup team. In this instance, the goalies are the ones that ensure that the they keep the faith as the last barrier against bad prose. The defenders wouldn’t be the ones we keep talking about in the news or blogs but like good defenders do a lot in ensuring that the craft is defended with good prose.
The midfielders would be of two types; the energetic types churning out many good books and supporting the business to have a positive bank balance. These are also the ones you see at festivals either well known or that you may never heard of but represent the continent’s prose the fullest. Strikers are the ones for whom everything they put out is a hit with the critics and the market.
My team could perhaps be improved, and you might well throw your hands in the air and say, “Walid Taher! Doesn’t he write cartoons and books for children?” Yes, he does. And of course there are many, many authors who are missing (“Where’s Salwa Bakr? Why don’t you have Bahaa Taher? Mohammed Makhzangi? Ahmed Naji? Adel Esmat? You’re an idiot not to have Ahmed Alaidy. Too few poets.” And so on.)
I have created three head-coaching positions, which I’m sure is a terrible idea, but I wanted to add many more (Joe Rizk, Mohammed Hashem, Alaa Khaled).
If you make outraged suggestions in the comments, please remember that the authors must be living to play. Omar al-Dinasouri, Ibrahim Aslan, Naguib Mahfouz, Yusuf Idris, Latifa al-Zayyat, Radwa Ashour, Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq, Taha Hussein, Tawfiq al-Hakim, Fathy Ghanem, Amal Donqol, Yusuf al-Shirbini, and many others can cheer from beyond.
Haytham al-Wardani, Rana al-Tonsi, Youssef Rakha
Mansoura Ezz Eldin, Yasser Abdellatif, Mohab Nasr, Charles Aql, Ahmed Yamani, Ahmed Shafie, Walid Taher, Mohammed Abdelnabi
Nael El-Toukhy, Mohamed Mansi Qandil, Miral al-Tahawy, Mohamed Rabie, Basma Abdelaziz, Ibrahim Abdelmeguid, Laila Soliman
Ahmed Mourad, Ahdaf Soueif, Sonallah Ibrahim, Iman Mersal, Ezzedine Choukri Fishere
Karam Youssef (Kotob Khan), Samia Mehrez (AUC), and Seif Al-Salmawy (Karma).
This is a very robust team. You won’t be hearing me complain about its composition.
Thanks for the idea!
Thank you for the article.
The following two books might be of interest-
Soccer in the Middle East, co-edited by Issam Khalidi and Alon K. Raab
It contains my essay- Walls and Goals: the Israeli–Palestinian Encounter in Football films and Literature
The Global Game- Writers on Soccer co-edited by John Turnbull, Thom Satterlee and Alon K. Raab
which also contains a manifesto by anonymous Iranian woman demanding the right to play and watch the game.
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