Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1296, (19 - 25 May 2016)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1296, (19 - 25 May 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Gaber’s Swiss leap

Swiss club FC Basel once again has plucked an Egyptian youngster, this time Zamalek’s Omar Gaber, Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Having twice won their bet on Egyptians, the Swiss giants FC Basel have now bagged another hot Egyptian property who has the potential to be as successful as his predecessors. Omar Gaber, 24, the star Zamalek defender, has been a rising youngster in Egypt in the past two years, a favourite of Egypt’s football national team coach Hector Cooper, as well as the main driving force behind his club, helping them win three consecutive cups and the league last season. All these impressive facts made Gaber the best choice in the eyes of FC Basel. Adding to Gaber’s allure is his young age.

The Swiss club always makes sure to bring in good players who can benefit them in the short term and then send them after a year or so to a bigger club in Europe with a big transfer fee. Basel did it with Mohamed Salah of Roma and Mohamed Al-Nini of Arsenal, both of whom were bought from the Egyptian side the Arab Contractors a few years ago and after their impressive displays, were captured by top class clubs in Europe.

Gaber has completed a four-year move worth €1.65 million with a 15 per cent sell on-fee, meaning that the Swiss club will have to give back Zamalek an additional 15 per cent out of the next transfer fee if they decide to sell Gaber. The defender, who can play midfield, will be the fourth Egyptian to join Basel after Salah, Al-Nini and Ahmed Hamoudi. Unfortunately, Hamoudi could not adapt quick enough to Swiss grass, however, Basel never lose. They sent him back on a season loan to Egypt’s champions Zamalek for €800,000. Gaber will wear the No 4 jersey, as he does with Zamalek. “Salah suggested I should wear No 22, but I will stick to 4 like with Zamalek,” said Gaber.

Gaber said he received good advice from Salah and Al-Nini before heading to Basel in order to help him adapt quickly in Switzerland. One piece was to concentrate on football and nothing else and that English and German clubs always have their eyes on the Swiss league and that if he proves himself quickly he will definitely move to a bigger club in Europe.

The Egyptian, who usually plays as a right back, has a great opportunity next season with Basel, as their current right back Philipp Degen will retire and Taulant Xhaka might leave.  

“I am sure Gaber will succeed in Europe and will then move to a bigger club,” commented Mido, former Zamalek manager and Tottenham striker.

While nearly all sides are optimistic about Gaber’s move to Basel, everything now depends on him: whether to meet expectations and take the same path as that of Salah and Al-Nini or go the way of Hamoudi and return to Zamalek who, Gaber says, he already misses.

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