The Egyptian Golf Federation was delighted to host the All Africa Golf Championship 2022, which took place at El Gouna Golf course in Egypt from the 27th of September to the 30th of September. We, at Sports & Fitness, always have the pleasure to be the official magazine for the Egyptian Golf Federation and their sole media partner. While covering the All Africa tournament, we were delighted to conduct interviews with all the responsible figures behind this success, like Mr. Johnson Omolo, President of the African Golf Confederation; Mr. Taymour Abu El Kheir, Vice President of the Egyptian Golf Federation and Board Member of the Egyptian Olympic Committee; Mr. Maher Waheb, Mr. Khaled El Serafy, and Mr. Mohammed Attallah, Board Members of the Egyptian Golf Federation; and more.
A total of sixty players and fifteen African countries participated in different groups. This includes Angola, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Egypt. The tournament was played over 4 rounds of 18 holes, and each team consisted of four players.
Morocco’s golf team won the tournament, becoming the African Champions, after topping a 72-hole tournament, with a total of 44 under par, 8 strokes ahead of the silver medalists South Africa, who finished second, scoring 36 under par. The Kenyan team was third and took the bronze medal with 10 under par. Egypt came in 5th place, with participants Issa Abou El Ela, Abdel Monem El Shafei, Mohamed Abou El Ela, and Maged Abdel Tawab. Issa, who is one of the top players in Egypt, was leading the board for the first couple of days, then he trailed off. It was also unfortunate that two of the top players in Egypt couldn’t participate.
Star of the tournament was South Africa’s Jonathan Bromhead, who took first place and the gold medal with a stunning 18 under-par score. He carded 69, 70, 66, and 65 for a total of 270 strokes.
The success of an international tournament on Egypt’s beautiful coastal side
It was the first time ever for the All Africa Golf championship to take place in El Gouna. The players have indeed enjoyed the stunning panoramic views of the Red Sea mountains, turquoise waterways, and sunny skies on and off-court. The golf course bunker features, waterways, and native regions all played an important role in providing a really tough and gratifying experience for each individual player. Out on the greens and fairways, the course’s obstacles and varied wind currents challenged the creativity and honed the ability of every participant.
Outgoing Africa Golf Confederation President Christophe Cure and newly elected Johnson Omolo gave out the prizes at the end of the tournament, along with Mr. Taymour Abu El Kheir, Vice President of the Egyptian Golf Federation and Board Member of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, Mr. Maher Waheb, Mr. Khaled El Serafy, and Mr. Mohammed Attallah, Board Members of the Egyptian Golf Federation.
The All Africa Golf Championship was sponsored by very big and reputable entities and organizations including Mercedes, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, R&A, Concrete, Dream, Orascom Development, and Sports & Fitness magazine.
Egypt’s position in golf
“Two things are special about the tournament this year; 1- this is considered the biggest participation from African countries; 2- the standard of the competition. Before, you could only see South Africa on top, but today the competition is challenging, with countries like Morocco leading the board, Tunisia, and others,” said Mr. Mohamed Attallah, Board Member of the Egyptian Golf Federation.
“We have a diverse team. They are still getting stronger every day, but we’re proud of them and the development evolving. We’ve got a 16-year-old on the team, which is part of the developmental program we’re conducting. We try to involve the youngest players in the highest levels of competition to get used to this kind of challenge as early as possible,” Mr. Attallah continued.
The beginning of Egypt’s strategic plan is coming to light now, starting with players younger than the age of 13. Also, since the pandemic, Egypt has started to see great talent. As golf is a non-contact sport, a lot of people— mainly in their twenties— were encouraged to play during the pandemic. “Great results are being witnessed from players aged between 13 and 14 years, and soon we believe they’ll be able to play in top medal competitions,” confirmed Mr. Attallah.
Mr. Mohamed Attallah
Playing in a coastal town, surrounded by nature completes the atmosphere of golf. The heat wave made it very challenging though, as the weather condition was not expected at this time; there was no breeze of air or wind. “But the golf course is in very good shape, it is well maintained, and it is a challenging one. Compared to other golf courses in Egypt, it is a very good one. I believe that it was an overall good experience for the players to play on such a course and in the heat. It is a challenging situation that will add to their experience,” said Mr. Khaled El Serafy, Board Member of the Egyptian Golf Federation.
“This is the second major event taking place in El Gouna this year,” explained Mr. El Serafy. “We hosted the Egyptian Ladies’ tournament in May, and now the All Africa. There are big ambitions for golf in El Gouna. They are also now developing the course in Ancient Sands. We are very happy about this partnership with El Gouna and Orascom, and we are looking to host bigger and bigger events in the Red Sea.”
Mr. Khaled El Serafy
When asked about Egypt’s potential to make it to the Olympics, the respectable board members said: “We have a strict plan for the Olympics in 2028, but we do not think we will make it in 2024. We are focusing on the younger generation… the 13-14 years old. The qualifications for the Olympics are different than any other sport, because it requires the top players in the world, in terms of top rankings. The work that we do, between the Egyptian golf federation, the African golf confederation, and the Arab golf federation, involves a plan to host more high-level ranking tournaments to help players get the world ranking points they need to be qualified for the Olympics. It is a long-term plan and an objective that we are very committed to.
The amateurs’ plans
In Egypt, bigger steps are being taken toward amateurs. As it is a funnel system, the federation wants to create a critical mass in golf and have a big number of golfers in Egypt. Only a small percentage actually play in high-level competitions like this, but the majority want to play golf for fun. So, this is the third year of Egyptian Golf Week, which is the inclusiveness of clubs and players, giving them a competitive edge to their hobby. There are big upcoming competitions and other fun competitions in Cairo, Alexandria, and the Red Sea. Companies like McDonald's and Mercedes are partners with the federation.
More than just a sport…
The sport teaches a lot of life lessons, in terms of etiquette, respect, and being your own referee, so it traces honesty, integrity, and values for character building. A lot of people who play golf from a younger age are of different maturity levels than their counterparts. “So, it is not only about competition, it is about character and lifestyle, and socializing,” mentioned Mr. Attallah and Mr. El Serafy. “You go to play with people you don’t know, they turn into friends, and some even end up doing business together. It is a social sport too. If you can hit the ball once correctly, it is in your blood. You’ll find yourself running to the course every day and dragged to hit the ball again and again. It is a very addictive sport. And you can play at any age; this is the nice thing about it. It is a sport for life.”
Golf is indeed a sport where you can see generations playing together; grandsons, fathers, and grandfathers.
A word from Mr. Johnson Omolo, President of the African Golf Confederation
“The competition this year is unique. Morocco is leading, and South Africa, which is usually in the first place, is coming second now. So, it is good to see other countries topping the chart; this is why I say ‘unique’. It is also great to be here, in Egypt, and by the Red Sea in El Gouna.”
Mr. Omolo also mentioned that what is different in this tournament is the climate; because of the heat and the wind. The sunny yet windy weather created a challenge for the players.
Mr. Omolo shared a word of encouragement for the players, saying: “It is a victory that is well-deserved. You’ve played in very tough conditions, and although there is only one official winner, with the effort put in and persistence seen, everybody is a winner.”
Africa’s position in golf today
“We have very good golfers from South Africa who are playing at the international level, so there is a big potential for African golfers. We also have young talents that are being developed in the African continent. And our vision is to have an African champion winning a medal competition in the near future … not necessarily from South Africa.
“This year, 15 countries participated in the All Africa Championship. “In the future, we hope that more would participate, like at least 24 countries should join, as Africa has 52 countries and 36 Golf recognitions. So, in tournaments like this, we should have at least 24 countries,” said Mr. Omolo.
After eight years as a vice president of the African Golf Confederation, Mr. Omolo was nominated this year for the position of president, and he was indeed elected by the majority of votes.
When speaking about the future plans, he mentioned that it is based on a six-pillar model, including governance, financial sustainability, sponsorship and marketing, women's activities, technical and championship committees, and development.
A word from the Vice President of the Egyptian Golf Federation
Lastly, we had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Taymour Abu El Kheir, Vice President of the Egyptian Golf Federation and Board Member of the Egyptian Olympic Committee
“This is the first time in 15 years to host the African championship in Egypt since it was lastly hosted in Green Land. It consisted of the largest number of participants in a golf tournament this year; with 15 teams participating. 21 were supposed to participate, but logistics problems in the last two weeks resulted in 6 teams not being able to make it.”
Mr. Abu El Kheir then explained that golf is one of those sports that have two aspects: tourism and sports. “Worldwide, the money spent on golf tourism is huge! Countries that compete with us on golf tourism are Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Spain. The countries that have all-year-round good weather. As a federation, we try to focus on this area and to show participants more touristic sites through golf. We hosted 3 tournaments this year; the national championship for juniors, men, and women, and invited international players from abroad. The men’s championship was held in Soma Bay, and the women’s was held here in El Gouna. Other than that, the African championship for juniors was held in Palm Hills, and the African championship for men was here in El Gouna too, in addition to the Arab championship that was in Dream Land. I believe that the Golf Federation is the sports committee that has hosted the highest number of events this year for Egypt,” he concluded.
Egypt’s current plan is to invest in the future generation, putting a tremendous focus on players aged between 6-12 years old, as talents start to appear at 14
“The Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashrab Sobhy asked for one international championship, we hosted seven!” concluded Mr. Abu El Kheir
There is this misconception; golf is widely perceived as a luxurious easy sport, but many people hardly see the real picture. I was one of the Sports & Fitness team members who attended the All Africa Championship and I was amazed and shocked by how challenging this sport was. The players stayed in critical weather conditions, playing and walking for hours in extreme heat, focusing on the win in such difficult circumstances for the sake of the game, aiming for that medal. I couldn’t bear spending 20 minutes in a golf car around the course in the shade. Indeed, golf builds strong characters, and teaches persistence, patience, dedication, and perseverance on high levels.
Also, it does not only targets a niche or professionals. Anyone can play golf! The federation is highly supporting golf schools. They are starting with El Gezira Club, having schools for juniors, men, and ladies. They are all sponsored by the federation, and will soon take place in all clubs across Egypt.
Golf is for everyone. You do not have to be a member of a certain club, like El Gezira or Alexandria Sporting clubs to be able to enjoy the sport. “If you’re not a member of clubs, you can go to any private club, knock on their doors, and say ‘I want to play golf.’ They’ll allow you to,” said Mr. Abu El Kheir.