We’ve been embedded with the Egyptian national team for the last week and a half as we continue to shoot WE MUST GO, our documentary about the team’s efforts to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. We already have tons of great moments from the match in Zimbabwe, but traveling with the team has given us some unique perspective on the team and Bob Bradley, its American manager. We thought it’d be a good time to share our top five non-football Bob Bradley moments.
- Walking Off the Pitch in Zimbabwe: After Egypt thumped Zimbabwe 4-2 in Harare, the victorious Pharaohs left the pitch to a very respectful ovation. Bradley hung back and was instantly clung to by one of the young ball boys. Bradley threw his arm around the kid and walked with him the whole way into the tunnel. Despite fans calling for him, Bradley never took his attention off the kid, who, apparently, was asking Bradley to get him Mohamed Aboutreika’s shinguard (which Bradley did).
- A Treika Embrace: A lot has been written about the relationship of Bob Bradley and Mohamed Aboutreika (the best of which is THIS PIECE by Wayne Drehs). We’ve witnessed this first hand during trainings, but when Bradley finally made his way into the tunnel after the Zimbabwe win, he was greeted by Aboutreika, who had waited to embrace his manager. “Treika” gave Bradley a huge hug that perfectly encapsulated the joy the two felt after taking another giant step towards achieving their shared dream.
- A Chivalrous Display: The direct flight from Harare, Zimbabwe to Maputo, Mozambique uses a plane worthy of an Indiana Jones montage. Between the team and their support staff, there weren’t a lot of seats available for the general public. As the Pharaohs descended towards the plane and rushed up the stairs, Bob not only stopped them to allow a woman to board first, he offered to help her with her bags. When she politely declined, he offered again, then watched to make sure she didn’t need a hand. All class.
- Bob Bradley, the Polish Coach: Upon landing in Maputo, one of the passengers on the plane saw Bob and started talking with him, saying that he knew his story. He then said, “You are from Poland, yes?” Bob chuckled and said, “No, not Poland, the US.” We’re not sure if it’s a sign of respect that an American coach was mistaken for a European one, but it was awesome either way.
- Treadmill Motivation: Staying in the team hotel has it perks; one of those is that the often small gyms are populated by the national team and regular guests, including ourselves. When I fired up the treadmill on the first full day we were here, the gym was empty. Then the team started filtering in, including Bob who shouted some motivation to me. It was the closest I’ll ever get to playing for him (unless, of course, his next stint is as coach of aMetrosoccer NY co-ed team–we could use some direction).
More to come from Mozambique!