NAGRIG, Egypt — In the increasingly globalized age in which we live, people from every corner of the world can all follow their favorite international sports and athletes. This past year, the Liverpool star Mohammed Salah rose to the role of international superstar, with even the relatively apathetic soccer fans of America knowing and chanting his name. Salah, like many of his fellow footballers, enjoys immense wealth, but Salah is unique in the degree to which he shares this wealth with others who are less fortunate. Salah is a role model sportsman who makes the betterment of his country a priority.
In a February article, the BBC described Mohammed Salah as a “modest, hard-working superstar” But where is he from? And, from where does he get this humility that so many fans have remarked on?
Who is Mohammed Salah?
The answer lies in Nagrig, Egypt, a small village which is in Northern Egypt, close to the larger city of Basyoun where Mohammed Salah was born. Being from a rural area, Salah had to travel great distances to play club football. He would forgo much of his schooling so he could leave at 9 am. to travel to Cairo to train at 2 p.m. Salah was born to a family of average means, but it’s likely that in his life he was a witness to poverty.
In 2015, the poverty rate in Egypt was 27.8 percent — an increase from 26.3 percent in 2010. As an Egyptian, Salah certainly has witnessed Egypt’s poverty, and he has responded to this by seeking to improve both the lives of those from Nagrig, and Egyptians more broadly.
Salah is termed by the BBC as a “regular benefactor” of the city of Nagrig, and some of his more noteworthy contributions to the city include a community gym, an all-weather football pitch, a hospital and a girl’s school. Furthermore, he paid for the area’s first ambulance. Salah has accomplished all this and also set up the Mohammed Salah Charity Foundation in his hometown of Nagrig to formalize his charitable efforts.
It’s understandable why Salah is a role model sportsman in Nagrig, but his charity is not just confined to his hometown. No, Salah has a history of generosity towards his whole nation which compels Egyptians from all over to give him their admiration. In January, Salah was hosted by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Minister for Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel Aziz to be recognized for his contributions to the Tahiya Masr (Long Live Egypt) fund whose goal is to strengthen the Egyptian economy.
Global Role Model
Earlier this year, Salah also took the initiative to collaborate with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction of Egypt to create a widely circulated anti-drug campaign video. The Egyptian addiction treatment hotline saw a 400 percent increase in the number of calls received in the three days after the video was released.
Salah is widely said to be a shy, and humble man, yet his initiatives to better the station of the people of Egypt certainly do not share the same humility in their scope. Salah is a role model sportsman, whose charity and hard work, serve as an inspiration both to fellow athletes and fans.