Africa Cup of Nations Notebook - Day 21

Wednesday July 10 2019


Cairo boats many super highways


It is just the other day that Kenya got its first super highway (a long one-way road with several lanes) – the Thika Super Highway. In Cairo, you will lose count of the number of super highways that criss-cross this large city. It could be 50, it could be more. The road network in Cairo is dense and extensive, inter-crossing and interlocking, overhead and underground, in a vast vehicular transport infrastructure that anyone used to only seeing the Thika Super Highway, will stop to gape in wonder. The network is so complex even long-time residents need to read the road signage keenly to find their way about town.

Horse-drawn carriages common in Cairo

Cairo city will never cease to amaze. In parts of Giza as you head towards the pyramids it is not unusual to encounter horse drawn carriages.


It could be one horse pulling a carriage or a team of two as they jostle for space with speeding motorists. Most are used to transport goods. The ancient Egyptian kingdom was known for its expert horsemen and the chariots they rode to many a battle.

Perhaps this phenomenon is a relic of that long forgotten civilization or it is just part of the Cairo way where ancient and modern sit side by side.

Riding without a helmet normal


I know, I know, the topic of traffic manners keeps popping up in this notebook but it cannot be helped.

Motorcyclists, be they boda boda riders or otherwise, seem to cruise with one rule: No wearing of protective gear. While they weave in and out of traffic, one distinction is almost every rider here sees no need of wearing a helmet.

In fact, you can count by the digits of your hands the number of motorcyclists you will encounter the entire day who will be wearing a helmet. There is no need of mentioning the passenger(s) on the bike, because, you guessed it, no helmets on their heads too.

Who will take over Pharaohs job?

No sooner had Mexican Javier Aguirre been sacked as Egypt coach than the local media went into overdrive on who should replace him.

The consensus is foreign coaches have been tried and not delivered and it is time to look inward again. One name that is popping up in discussions is local man Hossam Hassan. The former international forward, currently without a club, led Al Masry to a top-four finish in the league for three consecutive seasons.

Hossam is credited with leading a young Al Masry side that just avoided relegation the previous year to a top-four finish the next season.

Some of the Pharaohs best coaches include locals Mahmoud El-Gohary and Hassan Shehata.