Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Pyramids FC doing a PSG in Egypt

A new foreign funded team has the money to seriously challenge for the domestic football league title


Pyramids FC
Pyramids FC

You can call it shocking, you can call it surprising or you can call it unusual for Egyptian football but this is really happening, Marawan Zayed wonders. We are set to see a mediocre Egyptian club competing for the league title for years and years to come. Ex-honourary President of Ahly Club and President of the General Sports Authority in Saudi Arabia Turki Al-Sheikh announced almost three weeks ago that he had struck a deal with Al-Assiouti Sport Club to buy the club and rename it Pyramids FC starting from season 2018/2019.

Former Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri took over the presidency of the club following a meeting with Al-Sheikh, who said that he would buy foreign staff and four foreign stars to support the team in the Egyptian league. Head of the House of Representatives Youth and Sport Committee Farag Amer said that the deal was signed according to Egyptian laws concerning sport and investment that allow foreigners to establish sports companies and buy sport clubs. Amer said, “Sport investment in the United States is the fifth source of income, giving the US government $284 billion from taxes collected from the clubs.” He said he expected that the deal will encourage other investors to invest in Egypt and give a good push to Egyptian sports. Former Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan was appointed as the club’s spokesman and immediately announced that his new club has the biggest sponsorship deal in the country. Hassan added that the sponsorship deal they have on the table is the biggest among all the league’s clubs including powerhouses Ahly and Zamalek which shows that the club means real business. He didn’t specify the name of the entity planning to sponsor the club but he made it clear that the deal exceeds LE500 million for four years.

As for the club’s signings so far, we can easily say this is a club aiming to compete on all fronts not just the league title and they’re only getting started. The list of players signed by the club so far includes Ali Gabr from Zamalek for LE45 million, Abdullah Bakri from Semouha for LE45 million, Mohamed Fathi from Ismaili for LE30 million, Mohamed Magdi “Afsha” from Enppi for LE28 million, Mohamed Hamdi from Masri for LE27 million, Mohamed Farouk from Arab Contractors for LE18 million, Ragab Bakar from Semouha for LE18 million, Naser Mansi from Dakhlia for LE18 million, Ahmed Tawfik from Zamalek for LE15 million, and Ahmed Khaled from Tanta for LE6.5 million. The club is still expected to complete deals for Tarek Hamed from Zamalek, Ahmed Gomaa from Masri, and Mohamed Awad from Ismaili with the latter seemingly very close to being finalised, along with Mahdi Suleiman from Semouha.

The club appointed a Brazilian staff led by former Botafogo manager Alberto Valentim to lead the club in their journey towards the very top. The club will face Enppi in their opening game of the season and there is no doubt all eyes will be on this game or Pyramid’s games in general to see if they’re up to the challenge of taking the place of any of the big guns at the top of the table. The examples of Manchester City in England and PSG in France simply show that money can do wonders in this game and that Al-Sheikh will surely be inspired by what his fellow Arabs Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Nasser Al-Khelaifi did at Man City and PSG respectively as both the Emirati and Qatari owners transformed both clubs and made them the strongest in their respective countries and seem very close to conquering Europe as well. Can Pyramids do the same in Africa? We shall soon find out.

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