Tunis, Tunisia, August 24, 2019 – It is Abdelrahman Elhossiny Eissa’s 18th birthday. But before the Egyptian captain and his teammates indulge in due celebrations they have an important job to do – achieve their fourth consecutive victory at the 2019 FIVB Boys’ U19 Volleyball World Championship in Tunis and finish on top of their pool unbeaten.
After defeating Germany, Argentina and Japan in Pool C, Egypt have become the talk of the championship as no one, not even them, expected this kind of success. A lot to do with it has captain Abdelrahman Elhossiny Jr. He has been the leading scorer for the team in each of the three victories and is currently the second best scorer of the entire tournament on a total of 69 points.
“We came here to deliver a good performance. We didn’t expect to win against Germany, the champions of Europe, and against Japan, the champions of Asia, but we performed very well and it feels great to win our first three matches here,” Abdelrahman told fivb.com. “I am very proud of being the captain of the Egyptian team after these great victories.”
For the 18-year-old wing spiker this is not the first appearance at a U19 World Championship. Two years ago, at the age of 16, he played an important part within the previous generation of young Egyptian hopefuls, who also made a great run at Bahrain 2017 to win their pool and eventually finish sixth in the world.
Abdelrahman got into volleyball when he was seven years old at the Al Ahly club in Cairo, where he has been playing ever since.
“All three of my older siblings, two brothers and one sister, are volleyball players, so I followed their example. My first coach back then, Gaverabdel Salam, taught me a lot of things and I should thank him now, because without him I would not be here. But there are a lot of coaches after that from whom I have learned a lot and they are very special to me as well. Our national team coach Hassan Elhossary is among them.”
Coach Elhossary and his squad celebrating their third victory in Tunis
Abdelrahman has already finished high school and, following in the footsteps of his father, who is a general manager at a financial company, he is going to study finance at college in Egypt. “I hope I can achieve very good grades in college,” he said. “But my general goal outside volleyball is simply to be a good person.”
His aspirations in volleyball are a lot more specific.
“I hope we can achieve a medal at this championship, even gold,” stated the 186-cm-tall talent. “In the future, I hope to win the African Club Championship with Al Ahly. I would like to go to Brazil or Poland to play in their club leagues. I particularly like the Sada Cruzeiro club in Brazil, and about Poland I know that volleyball is the number one sport there and this would motivate me to play better and better.”
Abdelrahman Elhossiny Jr in action at the U19 World Championship
When it came down to pointing out the role models he looks up to, it was quite the opposite. Abdelrahman was very specific about who it is outside volleyball, but within the world of volleyball he mentioned a number names.
“Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is my idol. I’ve watched a lot of videos about him. He is so charismatic and he wants to win every match. His personality, his character on the field makes me love him,” explained Abdelrahman. “In volleyball, there are a lot of players whom I dream of meeting - Taylor Sander, Matthew Anderson, Earvin Ngapeth, Bartosz Kurek, Michal Kubiak...”
In the little spare time he finds, Abdelrahman enjoys music, movies and social media.
“I like a lot of different kinds of music, but my favourite is English hip-hop,” he revealed. “The last movie I watched was The Fast and the Furious 8 and it’s the best I have seen lately. I am active on social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I also like travelling a lot. I have travelled a lot with the national team, but there are a lot more countries that I haven’t been to, but I would like to visit. I have yet to visit my dream destinations, Paris and Budapest.”
What motivates him to train hard and strive to succeed? “Making the people of Egypt proud,” he answered concisely.