We go to the place where a star was born. To Nagrig, the village of the ‘King of Egypt’ Mohamed Salah. His family still lives there. How is life in the village? How did they welcome me there? What was the bad surprise? I traveled to Egypt to discover the story of football legend Mo Salah.
Mohammed Salah started playing for Al Mokawloon team in Cairo at the age of 14. He spent about 9 hours a day on the road commuting to training.
There are some turning points in Mohammed Salah’s life. One of them is that Zamalek, the team of Cairo’s most flamboyant, affluent district, turns him down. The wealthy businessman, who headed the team in 2011, refuses to sign a contract with Salah. “Salah needs a lot more work,” he says in an interview. A year later, Salah transfers to Switzerland’s Basel team and enters the European stage where he will make his name known to the world.
The village of Nagrig is 130 km north of the capital. To get there, I first got on these minibuses, which depart from in front of the train station. After changing the minibus in Tanta, I came to the town of Basioun. From there, I reached Nagrig by taking the Tuk Tuk, the most used transportation vehicle in the villages and towns of Egypt. You can watch the video from here:
Jasmine and onion fields greet us at the entrance of the village, which I reached after about a 4-hour journey. These products are the main source of income in the region. Salah’s family also trades jasmine flowers, which are exported for perfume production.
Salah, who married Magi from this village at the age of 20, comes to Nagrig, where he never forgot his roots, on his leave.
Mohammed Salah’s neighborhood is a pretty modest place. There is a grocery store in front of the house.
Egypt’s Ministry of Education added Mohammed Salah to its curriculum. The successful career of the star player will be included in primary and secondary school books. It is known that Salah gave financial aid to his village. The carpet pitch in the garden of his school is one of them.
Mohamed Salah’s school is very close to his home. Here I spoke with a teacher of Salah and the principal of the school. However, I was told that I needed to get permission from the Ministry of National Education for the interview. I was unaware of the bad surprise that would come a little later. They referred me to Mohammed Salah’s first football coach at the Nagrig Youth Center.
We went to this person’s house right next to the school.I told him I wanted to interview him about Salah. However, this person said that I could not talk to anyone in the village and that I could not take any camera shots anywhere. He told me that I needed to get permission from the Ministry of Interior for this. By the way, he tried to take a picture of my ID. Just as I was leaving, he asked me for $100 so I could interview him. So if I gave $100, he would talk. However, he had just said that I needed to get permission from the Ministry of Interior.
Frankly, I was also worried about my safety at the time. Because while I was leaving, that security guard attempted to delete the images I had. He also filmed me with his cell phone camera, despite my objections. Upon this rude behavior, I decided to leave the village.
I hope one day I will have the opportunity to interview Mohammed Salah himself. I actually interviewed ‘Salah’s twin’ in Madrid ahead of the 2019 Liverpool- Tottenham Champions League final))