Now that we’ve recovered from the riveting events of the 2021 World Championship hosted right here at home, it’s time to look back at the history of Egypt’s National Handball team: where it all started, the ups and the downs, the opportunities, and the victories. From our first time entering the World Championships, to our most recent role as hosts of the same tournament, take a look at the whole story here.
Egypt’s first qualification to the Handball World Championship took place in 1964; the fifth edition of the tournament. Held in what was then Czechoslovakia, the tournament was won by Romania. Egypt finished 14th.
In 1983, Egypt hosted the African Handball Championship for the first time, finishing fourth after losing 29-24 to Tunisia in the game for third place.
Egypt placed first in the African Handball Championship twice in a row, once at home, and once in Côte d’Ivoire. The team faced Algeria in the 1991 final, winning with a razor thin 19 goals to 18, and Tunisia in the 1992 final, winning 26-24.
With a struggling infrastructure, Egypt was unable to enter the World Championship again until 1993. That year the team went further than in its previous appearance in the tournament, progressing to the second round, and presenting more serious competition to their opponents.
Egypt finished 6th in the World Championship taking place Iceland in 1995, beating former World Champions Romania in the round of 16, but ultimately losing to Croatia 30-16.
1999 was Egypt’s first time as host for the Handball World Championship. The team missed a spot in the semi-final after losing to Russia with 26 goals to 20.
After three consecutive bronze medals, Egypt won the gold medal at the African Championship in Algeria in 2000, beating the hosts to the title.
Egypt reached the quarterfinals every tournament from 1995 to 2001, experiencing its best performance to date in the 2001 World Championship taking place in France. This result also made Egypt the first ever non-European team to come fourth in the World Championship.
2004 – 2010
Egypt went head to head with Tunisia in four consecutive finals of the African Championship. Egypt snagged the title in 2004 and 2008, but became runners-up to the the 2006 hosts Tunisia, and again in 2010, despite the tournament taking place at home.
2016 – 2020
After two bronze medals in 2012 and 2014, Egypt and Tunisia once again came head to head in three consecutive African Championship finals. Making up for their inability to achieve the title at home in 2010, Egypt hosted the tournament in 2016 and beat Tunisia in the final. After a silver medal to Tunisia’s gold in 2018 came Egypt’s most recent victory in the African Championship in 2020. The team beat their African rivals – and that year’s hosts – with 27 to 23 goals.
That brings us to the most recent event in the history of the Egyptian National Football Team. Despite not making it past the quarter final, Egypt lost only to Sweden in the group stage and defending champions Denmark in the quarter finals, both by a razor thin margin. The two teams ended up meeting in the final, and Denmark managed to keep its title.
So, in all, Egypt succeeded in being among the top three teams in the African Championship in all but three editions, in all of which they finished fourth. Apart from the seven times the won the gold medal, they were runners-up six times and won the bronze medal six times.
The Egyptian National Handball team has also won first place at the All Africa Games seven times between 1965 and 2015, at the Mediterranean Games once in 2013, and at the MENA Games every time they took place (1992, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2011).
With consistent regional victories and an strong performance in their most recent appearance, the Egyptian National Handball team – and particularly this current side, Let’s wait and see what they