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Creating A Culture Of Diligence And Accountability

Al-Shorouq, Egypt, September 4

Hector Cuper, the former manager of the Egyptian national football [soccer] team, is a mirror-image of our society. His approach to football lacked creativity, lacked inspiration, lacked adventure and even lacked the basic fundamental principles of the sport. Cuper cared about his own success; not that of his team. He cared about how he might be perceived in public; not how his players viewed him. Indeed, our national team paid a heavy price for hiring him, and his departure from Egypt is a blessing to us all. When Cuper led the Egyptian national team to a second place finish at the 2017 Africa Cup, all of us celebrated his achievement. Yet no one looked at our performance and analyzed what led to our defeat in the final. We were victims of excessive self-confidence. Not a single person—not even Cuper himself—learned from the team’s mistakes in preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Here, too, we were overjoyed when our team qualified for the prestigious international tournament for the first time since 1990. We let our excitement get the best of us. We became conceited and smug. This time our hubris came back to bite us, as we suffered three consecutive defeats in Moscow, finished bottom in our group, and were sent home in humiliation. Cuper’s contract was subsequently terminated. So what is the problem, you might ask? The problem is that in order to achieve greatness, we must all be willing to acknowledge our shortcomings. We must be willing to invest the time and effort in improving ourselves, instead of making up excuses and dismissing our errors as accidental mishaps. This is true of sports and society. Unfortunately, ours is a culture of cover-ups and excuses, not one of diligence and accountability. Until we change our mindset, we will experience losses—in sports and beyond.  –Hassan al-Mustaqawi

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