Egypt Nixes Proposal to Play Exhibition Match Against Israeli National Team

Game proposed by Israel Football Association earlier this week after a shoe was thrown at an Egyptian parliamentarian who invited the Israeli ambassador to dinner.

Tawfik Okasha (R) at the main headquarters of Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2016.
Reuters

The Egyptian Football Association has turned down a proposal that it play the Israel national team in a friendly match, according to a report on the KingFut website.

The game was proposed by the Israeli Football Association earlier this week, after Egyptian lawmaker Tawfik Okasha had a shoe thrown at him in parliament for inviting the Israeli ambassador to dinner.

“The main objective behind the request is to break the barriers between the two countries and to spread a peaceful atmosphere,” the IFA said when proposing the game.

But Azmi Megahed, media spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association, responded that the notion of the national team facing an Israeli team would not be tolerated by the Egyptian people.

 “We will not agree to any matches with the Israel national team or any Israeli clubs." Megahed said. "The idea of facing Israel is unacceptable to us because the Egyptian people would never agree to it.”

He added that Israel's proposal came at a time when the two countries were vying to host the Youth Basketball World Cup. Israel was trying to convince Egypt to withdraw its bid, Megahed said, but Egypt has no intention of stepping down.

It is the second time Egypt has declined to play an international friendly with Israel. The then-African champions refused to play the Israeli team after winning the championship in Angola six years ago.