Monday,23 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1360, (14 - 20 September 2017)
Monday,23 July, 2018
Issue 1360, (14 - 20 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

The big fix

Zamalek start the Egyptian Premier League with a huge overhaul, reports Marawan Zayed

Ahly off to a new season (photos: Mohamed Maher)
Al-Ahram Weekly

The Egyptian Premier League is finally back in what promises to be a very exciting season after most of the big clubs invested heavily on new players, aiming to compete with the holders Ahly for the league title this season.

Ahly’s perennial rival Zamalek were the biggest names in the transfer window as they brought in no less than 10 new players in addition to bringing back most of their players on loan in what they called a complete restructuring of the football team. They also appointed a new manager to lead the club from the scratch as they aim to get back to the days of going head-to-head with Ahly for every single trophy.

Kabongo Kasongo, Mahmoud Alaa, Mohamed Ashraf, Ahmed Kaboria, Ahmed Daouda, Salah Ashour, Benjamin Acheampong, Ahmed Madboui, Razak Cisse, Ahmed Magdi, Alaa Al-Shbli, Mohamed Ramadan, Abdullah Gomaa, Mouaiad Al-Ajaan, Mohamed Al-Shami, Mohamed Salem, Youssef Obama, Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek, Hazem Emam, Mohamed Koffi, Ahmed Dweidar, Ahmed Samir, Khaled Kammar and Ramzi Khaled are all the new players brought in by Zamalek president Mortada Mansour this summer between complete new signings and players who were loaned out and returned.

A new team to say the least is what Nebojsa Jovovic will be leading this season when he himself was bought in from Jordanian side Al Faisaly a few weeks ago. The Montenegrin manager did wonders with Al Faisaly and will be hoping to do the same with Zamalek or else will find himself fired by the club’s controversial president like the numerous coaches before him. But Nebojsa couldn’t start the season with a win as Zamalek started the season with a 1-1 draw against Al-Entag Al-Harbi in a good game by the White Knights who just couldn’t find the winning goal after Kasongo equalised for his team in the 27th minute after they conceded in the ninth minute of the game.

They attacked well, defended well and generally played some good football but just couldn’t finish off their chances to draw their first game of the season. On the other side, Zamalek’s biggest rivals Ahly didn’t spend big in the summer as they brought in their former played Hesham Mohamed in addition to the players who were signed just after the last season ended: Eslam Mohareb, Walid Azaro and Ahmed Al-Sheikh who came back from his loan period with Maqasa. They all played with the club in the Arab Championship except for Mohamed who was signed after the tournament.

Hossam Al-Badri is surely hoping to pick up from where he left off last season after the club won the domestic double but the opening game showed it won’t be an easy ride as Ahly came from behind to draw 1-1 against Al-Geish thanks to Al-Sheikh’s sublime free kick. The first half ended in a 1-0 lead for Al-Geish as they converted a penalty kick very early in the game but the second half was a different story as the Red Devils attacked aggressively and could have easily won as they missed several clear cut chances as well as being denied an obvious penalty for Abdullah Al-Said late in the game.

The game witnessed the official debut for the Red’s striker Ahmed Yasser Rayan who’s one of the upcoming stars as he came on at half time to replace Walid Suleiman. The youngster, whose father was a famed winger for the club, had a decent if not spectacular game and came close to opening his account a couple of times. The new signing Mohamed didn’t see action in this game but will surely see plenty of playing time in the coming weeks.

Zamalek off to a new season (photos: Mohamed Maher)

Another big gun in the league in the form of Ismaili managed to buy some top players in the summer and the club was rewarded instantly as these new signings hit the ground running in their first official game for the club. The Canal club managed to come from two goals down to defeat Ittihad 4-2 in the most thrilling game this week and the new signings were the ones to thank for the massive three points. First, it was the new Colombian striker Diego Calderon who got his team back into the game before fellow new signings Moussa Camara and Richard Baffour scored the second and third goals to put their side ahead before Ibrahim Hassan sealed the win with the fourth goal with the last kick of the game to make it a memorable debut for his side’s first three goal scorers.

The rest of the results saw Dakhleya and Petrojet draw 1-1, Arab Contractors defeat Raja 3-0, Tanta draw 0-0 against Nasr, Asyouty draw 1-1 against Maqasa, and Masri defeat Wadi Degla 1-0 with Enppi and Semouha playing later this week.

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