The Egyptian national team is one of Africa’s most successful international sides, having won the Africa Cup of Nations seven times and made three FIFA World Cup appearances, the most recent being in Russia in 2018.
Following the recent partnership between Catapult and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), The Pharaohs have started using GPS technology to support crucial performance, injury risk reduction and return-to-play initiatives.
As the former Head of Performance for Egypt, Pol Lorente has been responsible for implementing Catapult technology with the team and establishing effective athlete monitoring workflows.
“Since we received the GPS devices we have started using them during all of our training sessions and we are also using them during our official and friendly games, creating good habits with the players,” explains Lorente. “All of our players use the devices during training sessions, with 30-40% of them using them during games. (Getting athlete buy-in) is a tough issue, but they feel more comfortable day by day using the devices and they understand that capturing the metrics is very important for us.”
The use of Catapult technology has been particularly important for The Pharaohs in the build-up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. During their preparations for the competition, Lorente and the rest of the staff have used the system to plan sessions and carefully monitor the loads of players who are coming off the back of long domestic seasons.
“We get the game values from the players that use the devices during the games,” says Lorente. “We also prepare the training sessions and training load in terms of volume and intensity depending on the game values.
“Also, we check our players live during the training sessions to see how they are. A lot of our players have played many games during the season, up to 50 or 60 games, so they are really tired and we have to take care with their training load to help them to be in the best condition to start the Africa Cup of Nations and to go far in the tournament.”
Egypt are also using the technology to inform medical decisions and help reduce injury risk and manage rehabilitation where necessary. In his role as Team Doctor for The Pharaohs, Dr. Mohamed Abou Elela has seen the benefits of athlete monitoring technology first hand.
“Catapult means we have more objective evidence about the condition of the players,” says Elela. “We have reliable data and we can go through this data to manage load and consequently reduce injury risk. Getting injured players back to pre-injury levels is another major benefit.”
When it comes to engaging the players with the data, Elela and the other technical staff present the information in the appropriate context to help the athletes relate it back to the situations they encounter on the field.
“We present performance data to the players in conjunction with physical and technical information,” Elela explains. “This encourages them to improve by relating the data we have to real life situations. Players are generally most curious about total distance covered.”
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