Egypt Part 1: Egyptian Federation of American Football Set to Launch for 2016

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Organized American football was only introduced to Egypt a couple of years ago and now has evolved into two separate leagues, the Egyptian Federation of American Football – EFAF – and the Egyptian League of American Football – ELAF.

In a two-part series, we will take a brief look at the structure of each league in Egypt. Although EFAF is heading into its second season, the ELAF is kicking off its inaugural edition of tackle football in 2016.

Egyptian Federation of American Football

First up is the Egyptian Federation of American Football which has undergone a few changes since its inception just a couple of years ago.

Their initial order of business was organizing a national team qualifying game against Morocco to play in the IFAF World Championships. Egypt lost the game, but the momentum has carried over into the formation of the two separate leagues. Although politics is involved, ultimately there are now 13 teams playing the game on an organized level in this African country where soccer and basketball are the dominant sports.

Ali Rafeek, co-founder of the league, along with Amr Hebbo and Khaled Rabei, has now been elected president of EFAF and organized a seven-team league which includes three university teams.

This is the second season for the league. The GUC Eagles were the inaugural champions of the EFAF defeating the Hell Hounds. 

In preparation for the 2016 season, the teams have played a six-game pre-season schedule and the regular season kicks off on February 26 with the championship final Super Bowl on April 15 followed by an all-star game, the Pro Bowl, two weeks later.

Five foreign coaches have been brought in to help teach and develop the game.

MSA (Misr University for Science & Technology) Tigers

Egypt - MSA Tigers 2pic

The Cairo University MSA Tigers have brought in Mike Sholars, a Texas native who coached in Germany in 2015. Sholars will help prepare the team for the upcoming season.

When he agreed to help out, Sholars did not realize the dedication and enthusiasm of his young squad until he stepped off the plane at 1 AM to be greeted by 60 cheering and clapping football players.

“It was truly a humbling experience and one that I will never forget.”

Since then he has begun his teaching sessions and is happy with the progress of his young “students”.

Cairo Hell Hounds

Egypt - Hellhounds 2pic

Talib Wise, a veteran of the European American football scene having first arrived to play in Germany in 2009, has taken over the Hell Hounds, finalists in the first championship game every played in Egypt. The team has played its first two preseason games earning a win and suffering a loss to the Cairo Bears. One of the league’s top running backs, Mohamed Maher, will give the Hell Hounds an edge.

Cairo Wolves

Egypt - Wolves 2pic

Jeff Thompson, who has played and coached in Slovakia this past season has taken over the reins of the Cairo Wolves. Thompson’s charges have played two preseason games so far losing both by a combined four points. Thompson has Egypt’s leading quarterback in Moaz Sabah.

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Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.