Picture : Mercure Petrograd Cupwinners 1918
There was no national cup competition in Russia yet, but the most important regional tournaments were played in and around St. Petersburg and Moscow. The St. Petersburg (Petrograd) cup competition was already held every year since 1908, with the following finals during the 1910’s:
|30.5.1911||Udelnaja St. Petersburg||– Narva St. Petersburg||2:1|
|03.6.1912||Unitas “B” St. Petersburg||– FC Kolomjagi||3:2|
|02.6.1913||Unitas St. Petersburg||– Petrovsky St. Petersburg||3:1|
|15.6.1914||Sport St. Petersburg||– Mercur St. Petersburg||8:2|
|31.5.1915||FC Kolomjagi||– Unitas Petrograd||4:2|
|22.5.1916||Sport Petrograd||– FC Kolomjagi||2:1|
|04.6.1917||Mercur Petrograd||– Krechet Petrograd||2:1|
|09.6.1918||Mercur Petrograd||– FC Kolomjagi||3:1|
|22.6.1919||FC Kolomjagi||– Mercur Petrograd||7:1|
|00.6.1920||FC Kolomjagi||– Mercur Petrograd||9:2 a.e.t.|
In and around Moscow, development of football and regional competitions was lagging some ten years behind St. Petersburg. Thus, the yearly cup competition (knockout format) which was played in spring was only held starting 1917. The finals were:
|1917||SKL Moscow||– ZKS Moscow||3:1|
|1918||ZKS Moscow||– KFS Moscow||2:1|
|1919||ZKS Moscow||– KFS Moscow||2:1|
|1920||ZKS Moscow||– SKZ Moscow||3:2|
[KFS: Kruzhok Futbolistov Sokolniki – SKL: Sokolnicheski Kruzhok Lizhnikov SKZ: Sportivni Kruzhok Zamoskvorechye – ZKS: Zamoskvoretski Klub Sports]
Following the building of the Suez canal (1859-1869) and subsequent armed conflicts, Egypt became a de facto British protectorate in 1882. This was only made official in 1914, however, the year when Egypt was also freed from Turkish domination. The many Egyptian attempts at independence could only be crushed by a large contingent of British troops. Eventually, Great Britain granted Egypt formal independence in 1922, but four decades of British occupation had firmly introduced football in Egypt. At first only British Army teams played against each other. The Egyptians were fascinated by the game, imitated the British and assembled teams of their own to play matches. This development was started mainly by Egyptian workers at the British camps.
Within a few years, football spread amongst young Egyptians; first in the coastal town of Alexandria, where youths played in the parks of Shalalat (the southern part of the city), but football soon spread to the capital, Cairo. Thus, in 1890 the Egyptian newspaper The Photo News first reported on football matches played no longer in British camps, but also by young Egyptian men. In 1892, then, the public square before the Finance Ministery became the site of the first official football game in Cairo. A little later, a better ground was found: Korat Midan.
More and more temporary teams of varying calibre were formed, and the first Egyptian player of a high calibre was Mohamed Nashed in the 1890’s, who was a worker at the British camp Abbasia in Cairo. His team “Orence” was the strongest of the Egyptian teams. In 1898 he also challenged the military team at his camp and won 2:0 in front of 5,000 spectators. This was a historical victory, for it also greatly bolstered the self-esteem of the entire Egyptian nation.
Football continued to develop and spread in Egypt, and ever more matches were played between British military and native teams. These encounters were always highly significant and emotional for the Egyptian people. Also, matches between Egyptian teams were taking on an increasingly competitive character. Clubs expanded to include football, and eventually new clubs were founded. The British authorities, however, would not allow a purely Egyptian football association.
Thus many years passed before the Sultan’s Cupwas held on a yearly basis from 1917 on under the umbrella of a joint Egyptian and foreign football association. At first, British military teams dominated and regularly won. However, teams formed by Italians, Greeks or other nationals living in Egypt were allowed to participate along with the Egyptians. The first winners were: GHQ Signals [Ismailia] (1917); MG Corps Base Depot [Cairo] (1918); Infantry Base Depot [Kantara] (1919); and 2nd Batallion Sherwood Foresters [Alexandria] (1920). The first Egyptian club won in 1921 when International Sporting Club Cairo beat the British military side Sherwood Foresters 2:1. The Sultan’s Cupwas only held until 1938. Much changed with the foundation of the Egyptian Football Association(EFA) in 1921. Starting with the 1921/22 season, the EFA held its own championship, the Farouk Cup, to which no foreign teams were admitted.
The first Egyptian superstar, Hussein Hegazy (17.10.1886-20.10.1961), left Egypt as a youth and passed through Paris and London before he took up studies at Cambridge University; for which he also qualified on the basis of his outstanding football and scoring skills. He played for Fulham FC and the Cambridge University team. Furthermore, he also assembled a team of Egyptians who were staying in London. He only returned to Egypt in 1914, but would soon leave his mark on Egyptian football both on and off the pitch.
Hussein Hegazy (Egypt)