Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Shattered hopes

From dream to conflict, Ahmed Hamdi reviews the career path of Dominique da Silva, Ahli's latest foreign player letdown

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Dominique da Silva was a promising young player when he first set foot in the Egyptian red castle. "Playing for Al-Ahli is a big dream come true and I look forward to becoming the best striker in Africa through Al-Ahli," he said after signing a four-year contract with the Egyptian giants in 2011. This never materialised. Just days after da Silva's signing, the January 25 revolution took place and the Egyptian league was halted for a period of time. The 2010-2011 league resumed in April and was won by Al-Ahli. On his first league campaign with his new team, da Silva scored three goals.
Just as optimism rose that da Silva might turn into another Ahmed Felix, the infamous Ghanaian player who represented Al-Ahli in the 1990s, the Port Said massacre occurred. It resulted in the death of 72 young men and the cancellation of the 2011-2012 season.
In February the next year, a new league commenced once again after a year of absence. Da Silva began the new league, aptly termed "The Martyrs' League," with a bang. The Senegalese-Mauritanian led Al-Ahli to a 1-0 win over Mahala in the opening match, scoring the only goal. Alas, blighted by numerous injuries on the field, da Silva was not able to keep up such a perfomance. His physical impediments and his failure to make a strong comeback steered him away from being among the first choices for the manager.
Last August, da Silva asked to leave the club, justifying his request by saying he was denied the chance to play more frequently, which is what coach Mohamed Youssef had promised him but never delivered. Da Silva also said that he was being mistreated by his coach during the training sessions. The club denied the accusations, saying that the player was being intentionally troublesome so he would be let go. At that point, Al-Ahli could not have let him leave due to a shortage of strikers in the African Champions List last season.  
The lowest point in the striker's career with the red castle came a few days ago when Youssef did not include him in the African Champions League squad list. Clearly angry after this incident, the 23-year-old player said he was not sad for not being included in the squad list or even for knowing that Al-Ahli wants him out of the club now. He said that he would have been sad only if Manuel Jose, former Ahli coach, was still in his position. He made it clear that "the issue doesn't matter" since Youssef is the coach, adding "or even if anyone else was." He said he sent a message to Youssef and Hossam El-Badry, Jose’s successor, the two men who had no faith in his abilities, saying that Jose was the best coach for Al-Ahli.
After an agreement between Al-Ahli and Al-Faisaly of Saudi Arabia to sell them the Senegalese-Mauritanian player, the player refused to accept the deal. He later sat for discussions with Al-Ahli officials, in which they agreed on the terms to terminate the contract of the player.
Da Silva represented Al-Ahli in 48 matches and scored only 18 goals. The relationship between da Silva and Al-Ahli, starting out with dreamy expectations and ending in a clash, is not unusual in the history of foreign players for Al-Ahli. In the current transfer period, Al-Ahli signed the Burkinabe player Moussa Yedan. In his first interview after the signing, Yedan said, "It was a dream for me to play for Al-Ahli and it has come true." The question looms: Will history repeat itself or will Yedan walk a brighter path with the club?

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