‘He is one of the most distinguished masters of the game,’ says Black Ball CEO Mohamed Raef
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Mohamed ElShorbagy deserves to be lauded by the Egyptian squash community, despite switching international allegiance to England. That’s the view of Mohamed Raef, CEO of Cairo’s Black Ball Club, one of the world’s greatest squash venues.
Raef is one of the key figures in the development of squash in Egypt, with the Black Ball Sporting Club hosting numerous major events on their superbly appointed permanent showcourt with seating for 800 spectators.
As ElShorbagy’s move caused ripples across the world, with a handful of dissenting voices in both Egypt and England, Raef was quick to step in to offer support for the former word champion’s decision.
He said: “Yesterday, the fans were chanting his name at the World Championships at the Museum of Civilization, and then at the El Gouna Championship. Today, there is no need to row back and overestimate the situation.
“Mohamed ElShorbagy is a diligent Egyptian player who has represented Egypt for a long time. He has won numerous titles and sat on the throne of squash for a long period. He was the pride of every Egyptian and he must remain so.
“Mohamed will not continue to play for much longer than he has already played, and only a few years remain until his retirement, and I think that he has the right to secure a future that satisfies him after retirement.
“I wish Mohamed ElShorbagy to achieve what he wishes for himself. I imagine that not only will he remain a player we can all be proud of, but he will also remain one of the most distinguished masters of the game. The history books have a spot reserved in his name no less than that of previous squash masters in the world.
“Perhaps individual sports in our country do not yet receive the satisfactory amount of support and care, but in the current era of Egyptian sports, the issue is different and will become different with the state’s growing interest in sports and individual sports in particular.
“There is one thing left that I would like Mohamed to mention, which is the unprecedented public support from Egyptians who loved him and appreciated his role in supporting Egypt’s reign over the throne of squash for long periods.
“Egypt is a squash factory and there are upcoming generations ready to complete the march.
“Thank you Mohamed ElShorbagy for your journey in the Egyptian street of sports, and all the best in your next journey. You will forever remain in our hearts.” ?????????
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour and Black Ball Sporting Club