SF: Fram reports – Mostafa Asal 3-2 Paul Coll

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2 [2] Paul Coll (NZL)  11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 3-11, 12-10 (83m)

Let’s put thing back in their context.

It’s 0.41 am when we start the match. I have by then 5 hours of excruciating loud music in the ears – I managed to keep the music man under control all event until some idiot went to told him to put the level up today. Unbearable level. And not just for me.

Then being at the heart of emotions – between the families, and next to the dads, absorbing their anger/fears/exultation, outbursts. It was getting hard for me to keep my calm and my patience. Which are in SHORT SUPPLY AT THE BEST OF TIMES.

Add to that, as always, Mostafa brings in a “football crowd” from Ahly Club, who quite rightly worship the young Egyptian, but know f.a. about squash. Screaming at the wrong time, shouting during play. I have to stress that it got to annoy even Mostafa’s uncle, Ibrahim, who wouldn’t boo to a fly, started shouting at them to shut up (in Arabic, but I got the gist of it!!).

Also, not sure how that happened but Mahmood, Mostafa’s father, and his trainer, ended up in the front row, right in the middle, not helping Mostafa to stay focus on the match, as he constantly was looking at his dad, and feeding from his emotions. Mostafa, please, stop looking outside the court. You are 23 now. You know what to do. You don’t need to look outside after each point to get your dad’s approval. This is not junior squash anymore.

The first game started with Mostafa super Mostafa”esque”, coming out of the blocks at 200m/h, taking Paul completely out of his comfort zone. Mostafa was playing at such a fast pace that the New Zealander didn’t have the time to get out of the way. Paul got penalised with 3 strokes in that opener, when was the last time it happened??

That opener was all about Mostafa mad flamboyant squash, 7/1, 10/3, 11/7, but in 20m of extremely hard work for both and too many physical contact for my taste, Mostafa looking for no other way to get to the ball than banging into his opponent. And as he used to, Mostafa getting the crowd even more excited, as if they need encouragements, for crying out loud!

Realising that he couldn’t keep up with that pace for much longer, Mostafa got calmer but as devastating in the second game, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 6/3. Paul was keeping in touch with the score, but always playing catch up, 7/5, 11/6 to Mostafa, 11/6 in a “quick game”, 13m. There was still far too much physical contact from Mostafa, with Paul getting to see the glass floor from far too close for his liking again and again!!! It had the “old Mostafa” feel, more and more.

The third is definitely the “Old Mostafa”. We can see the trailing leg reappearing, the banging into the opponent, it’s not the squash we want from the Egyptian Marvel.
Paul stays focused, the rugby, he knows about it, being an All Black, and keeps his calm through the storm. 5/2 Paul, 5/5, 6/6, 8/6 Mostafa, 8/8. A no let and an error from the Bull, 10/8, a nick to end the third, 11/8.

And at that moment, I was ashamed of my second country, Egypt. As Paul got off court, the football crowd booed him. HOW DARE YOU. HOW DARE YOU COME AND SPOIL MY SPORT WITH YOUR HOOLIGAN HABITS. Oh I was fuming. I still am to be honest.

The fourth is over in a flash, 6 errors from Mostafa who stopped trying, 11/3 Paul, we are back level, 2/2.

The fifth is again everything I hoped I wouldn’t see from Mostafa ever again. The trailing leg, Paul on the floor, pushed around, not acceptable in any way, shape or form. Hat to Paul for not losing his calm, down on 5/1 and 7/3, but he hung in there and came back to 7/8.

A very harsh no let and a great kill from Mostafa, it’s 10/7 match ball.

Paul will fight with every fibre of his body and soul. He cannot regret not having given it all. Toss of a coin at the end, 10/10. Funnily enough, he will lose the match on 2 strokes. How ironic.

This was not a good match from Mostafa. The squash was the loser. Let’s hope it’s only a bump in the road.

Mostafa : “It’s crazy! I love to play here and I love to compete in Egypt. The crowd gave me a boost. Today was very physical and tough.

“Fair play to Paul – he’s an amazing athlete coming from 2-0 down. I’m really grateful.

“In between games, at 2-2 James Willstrop said to me, ‘come on it’s a World Championships. Why aren’t you giving your 100 per cent?’ All credit to him and it’s a turning point having this legend behind me.”