Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

Trio of Tigers

Being loaned to English side Hull City, Egyptian stars Gedo, Fathi and Al-Mohamadi have captured the eye of British media and the imagination of the fans.
Ahmed Hamdi reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

On the deadline day of the January transfer period, Championship team Hull City managed to sign two of Ahli and Egypt’s national team stars, Gedo and Ahmed Fathi. The duo, who chose to wear the numbers 22 and 17 respectively, were in need of some time to get used to the English football atmosphere. Despite so, Gedo made it to the bench in Hull City’s match against Brighton just hours after the transfer. He made his debut with the Tigers after 70 minutes, touching the ball just few times in the 20-minute period he played. On the other hand, Fathi was not called up for the match.   
Though Gedo did not show a brilliant performance in his first match, his coach, Steve Bruce, kept him on the bench for the second time in a row, this time side by side with his compatriot Fathi. In the match against Derby County, it was show time for the Egyptians. Although Ahmed Al-Mohamadi, the third Egyptian on the team who is on loan to Hull from Sunderland, was the only one of the three who started the match, it was Gedo who opened the scoring. The striker came in at half time to score from his first touch just two minutes into the second half. It was later when Al-Mohamadi secured the victory, scoring the second goal ending the match 2-1 for Hull. Fathi watched the game from the sidelines.
Having scored his first goal, Gedo caught the attention of the British media and fans. British sports journalis  Philip Buckingham tweeted after the match, “Gedo was terrific given he only landed in England five days ago. Direct, dangerous and lethal.” Gedo was praised by his manager Steve Bruce too when he spoke to Skysports after the match. “The boy Gedo showed his class. He’s an international footballer and I think he’s got 19 goals in 30 games so we know he has got quality,” Bruce said.
Hull fans had their say about Gedo and Al-Mohamadi as well. Hull City fan Phil Rudderforth praised both Egyptians on his Twitter account after the match. Rudderforth wrote a message to Gedo saying “Excellent goal this evening Mohamed, great start mate. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.” He then wrote another message to Al-Mohamadi: “Great goal this evening Elmo, well done mate. The future’s bright, the future’s Egyptian.”
Four days later, Hull was to play against Charlton Athletic. Gedo made it for the first time to the starting line-up while Al-Mohamadi continued to secure his starting place on the right side. Fathi sat on the bench for the second match. Gedo once more proved his quality scoring the winner for his team after 33 minutes from the start in their 1-0 victory. Fathi finally made his debut on the 57th minute.
Scoring his second goal in three matches, eyes were all fixed on the up and coming star in the Championship, a league below the Premiership. The British newspaper, The Daily Mail, said Gedo has continued what they called “his impressive introduction to English football” earning the Tigers another victory. Local newspaper, The Hull Daily Mail, published a story under the headline ‘Gedo holds key to Hull City’s Premier League hopes’. The report reflected how Hull needed such a decisive striker like Gedo according to his teammate David Meyler.
On their official Twitter account, Hull City praised Gedo’s “Egyptian-style”. It posted a picture of his celebration after his goal in Charlton and wrote above “If you want to score a goal... just give Gedo a call.” The saying was inspired by a similar Egyptian chant that was invented when Gedo scored in every game he played in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
On the other hand, having three Egyptians on the pitch representing the same team for the first time on an English ground was noticed by the fans. One Hull fan, Joey Apples, made it clear on his Twitter account commenting on the “Egyptianisation” of his team saying “Hull City or the Egyptian national football squad?” The comment could also be construed as having a racist tint.
Three days later, Gedo and his fellow Egyptians had another match, this time against Blackburn Rovers. The match was again another success story for the Egyptians. Gedo for the third time in a row opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half. Al-Mohamadi made it 2-0 just 15 minutes later. Fathi came onto the pitch as a substitute for Koren in the 90th minute.
Scoring for the third game in a row, Hull fans had to fall in love with the Egyptian striker Gedo. That was shown for example in a Tweet by Eve Clark, a native Hull City resident and a fan of her City’s club, in which she posted a new chant “Gedo superstar, that is what you are”.
The British media as well was interested in analysing the brilliant performance of the Egyptian trio of Hull City. The BBC published a report after the match under the headline ‘Egyptian trio prove an instant hit in English Championship’.
The report scooped on the Egyptian trio saying they have made an immediate impact, with Gedo and Al-Mohamadi scoring more than once in the last three games. “We’ve managed to get [Gedo] in and he’s proved what a good player he is,” Bruce, who also once coached Mido and Amr Zaki in Wigan, told the BBC. Bruce also spoke about Al-Mohamadi, saying he had done “fantastic” since he arrived. “Fathi is [also] a fantastic player. He can play midfield, left-back, centre-half –  he’s a great player.” The BBC ended its report by stating that it’s not yet guaranteed that the trio will permanently transfer to the Tigers. But they added that based on the Egyptians’ current performances, it looks like “the newly-restarted Egyptian league’s loss may be the English Championship - and possibly Premier League’s - gain”.
Despite all this love and attention that the three Egyptians gained from the British media and fans, the following match was not on the same level of what they expected from the Egyptians. Hull City fell short in their match against Bolton Wanderers, losing 4-1 and falling one position down in the league table. As Fathi watched the whole game from the sidelines, Gedo and Al-Mohamadi failed to help their team maintain their momentum of the last three games. Gedo failed to maintain his form in his fourth match and was substituted by Jay Simpson after 15 minutes of the second half. Al-Mohamadi played the whole 90 minutes but failed to make an impact as well.
Despite not getting much criticism or being held responsible for the team loss, the Egyptians are currently at a crossroads. The trio will have to go back to their previous form or else they might go back from where they come from as has been the case with all Egyptian players who played in England.

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