Sarah Essam (The Egyptian Queen) made headlines in 2017 after being the first Egyptian and Arab woman to play in the FA Women’s Premier League. The talented player was recently publicly recognized on her return to Egypt after reacting strongly to domestic criticism and praising the Egyptian authorities’ health measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, she has shown that living abroad has in no way diminished her love for Egypt.
During her quarantine in Cairo, where she recently celebrated her 21st birthday, the first Egyptian woman to play professionally in Europe opened her heart to FIFA.com and talked, among other things, about her civil career and how she eventually played in England.
The Egyptian Queen’s Challenge and Choice
When asked about the origin of their soccer trip, Essam said, “When I was growing up, I was playing soccer with my brother. I was the only girl in a group of boys who played kickabouts. I liked soccer, even though I was very good at basketball, but of course, I like a challenge and did not hesitate to choose football over all other sports.
“Over time, I gained more skills in competing with boys until I got even better than them. It felt nice to have boys ‘recognition of my football skills, especially in a society that always played football as a’ boys ‘game’ looked at. ” I encountered opposition from my family, who initially thought that football was not the right environment for me. “
Sarah continued on this difficult path and decided to join the Wadi Degla Club, where she was soon promoted to the first team. Then she received a call to the Egyptian national team, which was preparing for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2016. “I felt that everything was going well.
I got up at five in the morning to start training to be physically and technically prepared, but I was shocked to be struck off the final roster for the tournament. “
Did not give up:
However, Sarah did not give up and believed that her efforts would ultimately pay off. Two years later, she packed her bags and decided to go with her sister to England to look for trials with English clubs. “I knocked on every door and had exams at various clubs until I signed for Stoke City at the best moment of my career in 2017. I was very happy to reach a point where I could show my potential.”
Despite the enormous differences between life in Egypt and England, Sarah knew that adapting to her new environment would be a prerequisite for success.
“I knew it was going to be difficult, but I was mentally and mentally motivated to make this important transition. I have to admit that this quick adjustment would not have been possible without the help of my teammates. They supported me.” I in training and in games. They are not only teammates, but also close friends with whom I keep in touch in Cairo. “
Essam enjoys her experience in England, where the excitement of the Super League for women reminds her of the exciting action of the Premier League that she saw on television in Egypt. “Yes, the game of women has developed remarkably in recent years.
All players know that many fans watch them and expect them to see the quality on the pitch. I think we work very hard and demonstrate our great skills in games which in turn motivates the fans to come out and support us. “
Dreams and Ambitions
Once professional, players have to devote most of their time to football. But Sarah, who has made enormous sacrifices for the game and her club, has not given up on her academic goals. “I put a lot of effort into football, but I never gave up my university studies.
I study civil engineering in England, although many people told me that it was difficult to reconcile football and college. I chose them.” I face the challenge and continue to do my best on both fronts. I want to serve my country by playing professionally and I also want to get a university degree for my future. “
“My day starts early. I prepare my meals for the whole day at six in the morning and then take the train to the university, which is in another city. From there, I go on to Stoke. I usually have breakfast on the train I decided to dedicate my life to my passions. Even during the holidays, I don’t sit on my sofa and watch TV but exercise to stay in good shape. I don’t consider it a sacrifice while doing what I love. “
Hard work never waist
A year after moving to the UK, Essam’s hard work began to pay off, including the London Arabia Organization being awarded the Arab Woman of the Year 2018: Performance in Sport award.
“I am very proud to have won the award, especially since I am the first Egyptian to receive this award. My achievements have attracted the attention of many individuals and institutions. I have even received an offer from the BBC, one To comment on the CAF 2018 award ceremony at which Mohamed Salah won the award for the best African player. I was also part of the comment team for the 2019 African Nations Cup in Egypt. This experience makes me more confident to continue working in different areas. “
2019 could hardly have been better for the young Egyptian, as she scored 12 goals in 12 games and became Stokes’ top scorer. “Playing only in England would have been a great first step in my career, but becoming my team and the top scorer in the league is huge and will motivate me to keep working hard.”
“I also hope to use these achievements and experiences and pass them on to the other players in Egypt. Working hard over a long period of time will bring us success, and I hope that my teammates and I will be able to achieve the ultimate achievement in Egypt to reach.” the FIFA Women’s World Cup. “
Sara Essam’s Birthday
Even though Essam’s 21st birthday came while she was in quarantine, she still had reason to celebrate. “I didn’t expect anything on the day I was isolated in my hotel room. I thought I would celebrate it with the family when it was all over, especially since they sent me some birthday cards.
“However, I heard a knock on my door and when I opened it, I saw a group of employees carrying a cake shaped like a soccer field. There was also a gift from exercise equipment that could be used in the room. I was so glad that I don’t think I’ll ever forget this experience. “