Egyptian Soccer Team Robbed While Beating Italy

$2,400 missing from hotel rooms

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jun 19, 2009  |  Updated 3:06 PM CDT
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Egyptian players lost their shirts and then found out they'd really lost their shirts.

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Thursday was the best of times and the worst of times for five members of the Egyptian soccer team. They beat Italy 1-0 at the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a monumental victory for one of the sport's lesser lights against the defending World Cup champions. Their celebration was short-lived when they returned to the team hotel to find that their rooms had been robbed costing them $2,400 combined.

It seems that the Egyptian players weren't too keen on using their in-room safes.

"Our stay in South Africa has been great and everyone has been very hospitable, so this is a very unfortunate event," Mahmoud Taher, the head of Egypt's delegation, told BBC Sport.

"There was some negligence on the players' part, leaving the money in drawers, and they'll be getting firm instructions for next time."

That's a pretty rookie mistake for players whose job involves travelling to different places on a regular basis. If you can't figure out how to use the safe, just get one of those travel pouches that straps onto your skin under a shirt. It's a goofy look, but at least you'll be able to chip in for the post-victory pizza party. 

There have been some worries that South Africa's high crime rate might pose problems for the 2010 World Cup, worries that Reuters is pouncing on while reporting this story. Their article mentions South Africa's high crime rate, but makes no mention of the fact that the players left the money where it was easily taken.

That doesn't mean it should have been taken, of course. Theft is theft. Leaving valuables out in a hotel room is as bad an idea in London, Chicago and Tokyo as it is in Johannesburg, though. They'd do better to report on the actual kinds of crime -- like the 100 rapes per day -- that need to be curtailed before next summer, than raising undue amounts of alarm.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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