Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1208, (7 - 13 August 2014)
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1208, (7 - 13 August 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Soccer on the side - Players’ lot

Ahmed Hamdi probes the current challenges faced by Egyptian footballers in Europe

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A synopsis of the changing fates of Egyptian players in Europe shows one getting his first taste of European football, another looking to a new start in Switzerland, a third changing his number to his mother’s birthday and a fourth facing the probability of being shown the door.

Ahmed Hamoudi has added a new colour to his blue shirt of Somouha, which he left for Swiss Basel, to wear the Red and Blue of the Swiss champions. Hamoudi is the third Egyptian to represent Basel in the last three years, after Mohamed Al-Nenny and Mohamed Salah, who later made it to one of England’s giants, Chelsea.

Chelsea has found itself in a dilemma after exceeding the number of foreign players allowed on the roster. The Blues have signed two Spanish players, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, and the Brazilian left back Filipe Luís, while receiving Thibaut Courtoisre returning from loan and Didier Drogba returning to the club after leaving in 2012.

The team that resides in London has now to give away one of its foreign players. Excluding the new comers, the decision of who to let go of seems to be between Peter Cech, Fernando Torres, Obi Michael and Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian winger has already given back to Drogba his number 15, changing his own number to 17. Will he soon be giving Drogba his spot on the roster too?

Speaking of changing numbers, the Egyptian defender of Fiorentina, Ahmed Hegazi, has decided to change his number for the third time with the violas since joining the team two years ago. From 3 to 6, he has now chosen the number 55 to wear as it reminds him of his mother’s birthday on the fifth of May. Hegazi has been struggling to represent the Italian side since joining them due to several severe injuries. He is hoping his mother’s birthday will be a lucky number that will take him to a starting lineup position.

Another Egyptian who is also struggling to get into the starting lineup of his team is Mahmoud Abdel-Razek, known as Shikabala, who plays for Portuguese renowned team, Sporting Lisbon. The former Zamalek player has joined the green and white team last year but has never represented them officially. Will he be getting his chance this year?

A real start is what Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim, known as Kahraba, will be looking forward to on his second chance in Switzerland when he plays his first season with Grasshopper. The club has taken the risk of signing the young player after a huge problem with his former Swiss club, Luzern, with which he scored seven goals in sixteen matches. Will he prove his former club wrong?

Ahmed Fathi has decided to go to another tryout in Arsenal a decade after his previous rejection there. The nearly 30-year-old was misled into thinking that he can make it to a top club in England at his age, when he could not secure a starting position in less competitive clubs in England when he was younger. Fathi has been sent home and is not negotiating a new contract with his former team, Ahli, where he settled for long years.

Meanwhile, settling is all Ahmed Al-Mohamadi has been doing in Hull City. The Egyptian right back has been giving satisfying performances with the Tigers since he joined them a few years ago coming from Sunderland. After reaching the FA cup final last year and securing a position in the Premier League, will Al-Mohamadi be able to keep his form?


The writer is a freelance journalist.

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