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Why Do We Keep Losing In The Last Minute?

Al-Shorouq, Egypt, June 22

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that most Arab sport clubs are not on par with other teams competing at the international level. This is in part due to a difference in funding, training, and resources available as compared to other wealthier and more developed nations. And still, the gap between the Arab world and the Western one is unfathomable. Between 1896 and 2016, the United States managed to win over 2,500 Olympic medals. Do you know how many medals the Arab world, in its entirety, collected during this same time frame? 108. What’s even more frustrating is that our teams seem to lose at the very last minute of each match. Why is this? The answer, in my view, has little to do with physical fitness and everything to do with culture. We, in the Arab world, have no regard for getting tasks done from start to finish. Think back to your childhood experiences at school, when a teacher would skip entire chapters of a textbook just because the end of the school year was nearing. Look at our workplaces, where employees cut corners and leave “just 15 minutes” before the end of a shift in order to save time and evade their responsibilities. We leave things to the last minute, and we take shortcuts whenever we can. While elsewhere in the world people are held accountable for each and every phase of their work, we in the Middle East have embraced mediocrity. We’ve become complacent. While other teams view the last few minutes of a match as an ideal opportunity to tip the scale in their favor and win the game, we view those exact same minutes as time to kill. When a game doesn’t go well, we immediately defend ourselves by saying we had bad luck. Because of this mentality, we lose some of the most precious moments that could change our fate. Success is only achieved by those who strive for it.  –Hussein al-Mastaqawi

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