When Naguib Mahfouz was a boy, he tells us, two paths lay before him. There was the path of the literature he loved to read and write. He could take that path and become a distinguished author. There was also the path of the football he loved to play and the footballers he admired. He could take that, it was said, and become a member of the Egyptian Olympic football team.
As we know, Mahfouz chose the literary path. But many other authors have woven between football and literature — either playing or writing about the sport — and this issue brings together fiction, satire, poetry, essay, and the sport of football. With bilingual popular football chants from five countries, from Morocco to Bahrain; poetry and fiction from award-winning authors writing in Arabic; and essays and interviews about the history of the sport. Football brings together drama, politics, violence, delight, and music. This issue is a joy for football fans and non-football fans alike.