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Thursday, 9 March 2023

My Morning Routine: Mamdouh Eid, CEO, Pyramids FC

Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids FC: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids Football Club (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I'm Mamdouh Eid, CEO of Pyramids FC. I studied architectural engineering and got an additional sports management degree after graduating. I've spent a long time working across most sides of the football industry, from events to the commercial side, to the sporting side and management. My career in football took off after I retired from basketball. I used to play for Gezira Club; we were at the top of the league, and I was a member of Egypt's national basketball team.

I want Pyramids FC to have a positive impact on Egyptian football, sports investment, and Egypt’s economy as a whole. The global sports investment market has grown massively over the past few decades, and we believe Egypt has untapped potential in this area. We work hard to promote the club internationally, not just at home. Most of our sponsors are from other countries, which means we bring in the vast majority of investments and sponsorships in foreign currency.

Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a football club that will endure for many generations. The world has made strides in sports development, but our progress has sadly remained stagnant. Only two clubs have historically dominated Egyptian football and no one has had the ambition to oppose them. This is due to a mentality that has long viewed anyone who challenges the major clubs as an enemy — something that prevents the others from growing. We're trying to change that. We think that stronger competition can push Egyptian sports forward, and the league has been raising its standards yearly as part of these efforts.

Sports is a significant part of who I am and has always been my true passion. Even my architecture graduation project was designing and constructing a football stadium. I remember arriving for my thesis discussion fresh off the plane from Ghana, where I had attended the Africa Cup of Nations final game between Egypt and Cameroon — which Egypt won. The professors and I talked more about the game than the graduation project. I spent a lot of time learning, working, and growing to be able to become the person I am today.

My responsibility is to develop the club and help it achieve the greatest possible success. My direct responsibilities are… everything: the sporting, commercial, TV, legal, financial, and administrative sides. Every part of the football club is my direct responsibility.

The first thing I always do as soon as I wake up is to put myself in the best mental state possible before starting work. My morning routine shifts daily and depends on what I must do that day. Because we don't operate like a regular business, it's not an 8-9 hour job; my responsibility towards the club is 24/7/365 days a year. We don't have weekends or official holidays.

If I don't have to start my workday at 8am, I start with a bit of self-care, which could simply be eating a good breakfast, relaxing, or working out if time allows. Then, depending on what we're doing that day, I go to the office or the club. I sometimes don't start my day at home because the team frequently travels to play games outside of Cairo or Egypt, so I would be camping with the team wherever we're playing. My job requires a lot of traveling, and it's hard to develop a set routine when I'm not in Cairo. If you look at seven days a week, I doubt any of them will have a lot of similarities.

On a match day, I wake up with the team in the training camp, and we have breakfast together. Then I will meet with my sporting director and the coaches and check what we need to have ready for the game. Some matches take place at 2.30pm and others at 9pm. Depending on how the game turns out, sometimes I can go home right after, but other times the team will need to meet to take action or recap.

On a non-match day, I either go to the training ground, the office, or meetings outside of the office. And on sporadic days if my presence is not needed in the office, I can work from home. This is a rare treat because, as I told you before, I don't take weekends off.

The one constant in my day is my wife. She always has to be the first and last person I speak to.

I stay focused and organized by compartmentalizing everything I do. I developed a method for how I operate, and I fix issues one at a time. I simplify any problem to deal with the smallest aspect of it, and I never handle two issues simultaneously. If they must be handled together, I will address each separately and then combine them. I don't believe in multitasking when it comes to problem-solving.

My personal goal is to have an impact on sports and youth development, starting with football because it's such a massive part of the sporting world. I believe that education and sports provide the foundation for developing people who are mentally and psychologically capable of leading the country to where it deserves to be.

Work is a means of living. People strive to do better at work to live a better life. So work-life balance is crucial. It's essential for me to prioritize my personal life and do things that will help me grow, which will also help me do well at work. If someone is only working and not living, there is something wrong with their motivation for working.

After a hard day's work, I usually recharge by doing activities that don't require much brainpower. This could be playing sports, watching sports, or watching non-intense TV. And more importantly, connecting with friends who hold similar positive beliefs and outlooks to mine. Exchanging positive vibes with like-minded people helps foster creativity and leads to better productivity. I also spend a lot of time listening to music. I appreciate music that is happy, and relaxing, and further lifts my spirits so that when it’s time for work again, I'm at 100%.

I just finished season three of Pennyworth, the origin story of Alfred, Batman's butler, and it was a terrific show. I'm a huge fan of graphic novels, including those from Marvel and DC Comics.

My mother is the source of so much wisdom in my life, and she showed me early on how small gestures can have huge effects. She made sure I was always smiling, and she would always remind me of Prophet Muhammad's hadith, in which he said, “Smiling in the face of your brother is an act of charity.” She helped me realize this is the quickest and easiest way to get thawab, good credit, and spread positivity. And it's something I've never stopped doing. I usually don't stop smiling as much as I can. It's something so simple but has a considerable effect, and it's the reason for so many of the good things in my life.

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