Thursday,15 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1157, (18 - 24 July 2013)
Thursday,15 November, 2018
Issue 1157, (18 - 24 July 2013)

Ahram Weekly

The Black Gazelle

Abeer Anwar profiles Ibrahim Youssef, one of Egypt’s greatest footballers, who passed away 

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt bid farewell to Zamalek’s former football star Ibrahim Youssef who passed away at age 54 on Wednesday 10 July following a sudden heart attack. Youssef died in hospital.
Youssef, whose dark skin was immediate evidence of his Upper Egypt roots, was voted on Africa’s all-time starting 11 team. He is also considered the best libero, or sweeper, in Egyptian history. Despite his height, Youssef’s agility and quickness while marking center forwards quickly gave him the nickname the Black Gazelle.
Youssef started his career with his brother, Ismail, in Zamalek while their third sibling Sayed played for neighbouring club Tersana. Ismail Youssef played for Zamalek as a defender, playing the role of libero in elegant fashion, molded on the play of the maestro of the time Franz Beckenbauer.
Youssef competed for Egypt in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He was chosen as one of the best 11 players in Africa in 1984.
He played for Egypt in the Mediterranean Games 1983, where his team won a bronze medal, and the gold medal in the All-Africa Games of 1987. He won best Egyptian footballer several times and the best libero in the African Cup in 1984. He was also chosen the second best African footballer of the year by France Football in 1984 and the third African footballer of the year by the same magazine in 1985.
By that time the trio of Youssef brothers was on the national team, a rarity in any sport in any country.
For his club Zamalek, Ibrahim Youssef won one league title, in 1983/84, one Egyptian Cup in 1979 and two African Champions League crowns in 1984 and 1986.
Youssef, who never played for another club other than Zamalek, was well known for his politeness on and off the field and a broad smile which never parted his face.  
His career ended prematurely after he suffered a knee injury in a friendly game in Kuwait in 1985 that forced his early retirement.
After his playing career, Youssef entered the world of coaching where he led several national teams including his last stint as Zamalek’s junior team football coach, then the U-17 manager.
Youssef, a police general in his spare time, was a board member of the Zamalek club and also became a regular football analyst on the Modern TV station.

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