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Pandemic Turns Egyptian Soccer Player Into Street Vendor

In this May 9, 2020 photo, 28-year-old defender Mahrous Mahmoud holds up his Egyptian national football team jersey he trains with, inside his home, in Manfalut, a town 350 kilometers (230 miles) south of Cairo in the province of Assiut, Egypt.

MANFALUT, EGYPT - On a hot Saturday afternoon, Mahrous Mahmoud is busy as can be. The professional soccer player, however, is working up a sweat in a different way these days — as a street vendor.

At this time of the year, Mahmoud would be on the field playing as a defender for Beni Suef, a club in Egypt's second division. But like millions in the Arab world's most populous country, he has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

These days, he heads to work in a crowded market in an Upper Egypt town. Shoulder-to-shoulder, shoppers jostle around stalls as he prepares a pancake-like pastry. Prior to the pandemic, Mahmoud made about $200 a month playing for his club. That went a long way toward feeding his family of three but he also did part-time jobs to supplement it.

The league was shut down in mid-March and Mahmoud's main source of income dried up. Egypt has implemented a strict curfew and closed cafes, malls and other shops as part of a government effort to stem the spread of the virus. His club told players to stay at home until they could return to playing.

Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

21 2020 10:26 -
2 July 2020 | 15:33
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