Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1261, (3 - 9 September 2015)
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1261, (3 - 9 September 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Easy come, easy go

Instead of making their way to Europe, more Egyptian footballers are returning home, reports Ahmed Hamdi

Al-Ahram Weekly

There is always speculation at the beginning of the transfer period about players from the Egyptian football league leaving to European clubs to become what are called "professionals". Such guesswork, however, turns into the opposite by the end of the summer. Instead of exporting new young players, Egyptian professionals tend to pursue stardom back in their own countries, joining the big clubs like Ahli and Zamalek just a few months after they leave. This season alone, Egypt has welcomed back Saleh Gomaa, Ahmed Hamoudi and Shikabala. It seems like Rami Rabiaa or Ahmed Hegazi will also head back home.

The number of known professional players -- there are many Egyptians in Europe whom no one knows about -- has decreased this season in a tradition trademarked by Egyptian players. Many cannot withstand the European competitive atmosphere.

At the beginning of the previous season, Egypt had four players in England, the same number in Belgium, two in Italy, seven in Portugal, and two in Switzerland, in addition to a few other unknown players in countries as diverse as Scotland, Estonia and Japan.

As the season ended, the rumour mill had a possible return by Ahmed Al-Mohamadi, one of four Egyptians who used to play in England, before Mohamed Salah moved to Italy from Chelsea. Al-Mohamadi’s Hull City were regulated to the English Championship. However, the Hull City right back made it clear he will continue his career in Europe and has no intention of coming back.
It was not the same for Basel's Ahmed Hamoudi, despite winning the Swiss league with his team. He headed back this season to the Egyptian league to wear the white shirt of Zamalek, leaving Mohamed Al-Nenni alone in Switzerland. In Portugal, though, it seemed like a kind of Egyptian fly-back group decision. Midfielder Saleh Gomaa left his club Nacional to return to Enppi, his original club from which he was loaned, to be sold to Ahli. Shikabala finally returned as well, after months of not playing any football, to join Zamalek and to be loaned directly to Ismaili.

Another player who left Portugal to wear the yellow shirt of Ismaili is Gil Vicente's Marwan Mohsen. The 26-year-old striker spent only one season in Portugal before deciding to end his European dream and return back to Egyptian reality.

Not ending there, the return of players from Portugal seems to continue as Ahli are closing in on signing former Red Devil's defender Rami Rabiaa from Sporting Lisbon. The 22-year-old earlier threatened his Portuguese club to either play regularly or leave. Lisbon showed him the way out.

From Portugal to Italy, rumors have been spreading about a possible return home for Fiorentina's defender Ahmed Hegazi to Ahli just in case Rabiaa's deal fails. Hegazi has been in Europe since 2012 but played only 22 matches with both Fiorentina and Perugia which he was loaned to from the Violas due to injuries.

By the start of this season, Egypt had lost four of its professionals and the number is increasing. However, on the other side, two players left Egypt to pursue a European career. Amr Tarek left Al-Gouna to join Spanish La Liga side Real Betis but he is yet to touch the ball in an official match after two rounds of the Spanish league. Another player who left to Europe is Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet, the former Ahli player. Trezeguet joined Belgian side Anderlecht and he too has yet to touch the ball.

Zamalek winger Omar Gaber was to join them in Europe but negotiations failed with French club Bordeaux.

An overall look at the summer transfer market would show that Egypt lost almost half its professionals in Portugal and Switzerland. The number of Egyptian professionals decreased but not by much. However, it seems like the same ideology that has been present for two decades in Egypt, that of easy success, is still valid and taking over many of the Egyptian players' minds.

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