To have ambitions is fine, but they have to be realistic ambitions.
It was for this reason that I was amused when Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek called on national athletes, especially the national football squad, to emulate the Egyptian team who beat the reigning World Cup champions
"They should study how an underdog country like
The Egyptian national team, affectionately known as the Pharaohs, have a distinguished record including two fourth-placed finishes at the Olympic Football Tournament (1928 and 1964) and a third appearance in 1984. However, although in 1934 they became the first African country to participate in the FIFA World Cup finals, Egypt have made only one subsequent appearance on football's greatest stage, at Italy 1990.
The Pharaohs have won a record six CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles, seized in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006 and 2008, and can count the likes of Ali Abugreisma, Mahmoud El Khatib, Ibrahim Youssef, Magdi Abdelghani, Tahar Abouzeid, Hossam Hassan, Hany Ramzy and Mohamed Aboutrika among their greatest all-time players.
Currently they have players playing in
Other achievements include victory in the African Games football tournament twice (1987 and 1995), and the African Youth Championship once (2003). The U-20 team also took third place at the FIFA World Youth Championship in
With such rich and successful history behind
Let us have realistic ambitions and achieve it, rather then just hope for miracles to happen.