Monday,24 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)
Monday,24 September, 2018
Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)

Ahram Weekly

End of the Euro line

Packing their bags and returning to Egypt, three football players ended their short-lived European adventure. Ahmed Hamdi reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

With open arms, Egypt will welcome back Mahmoud Abdel-Razek, or Shikabala, Mohamed Ibrahim, and Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim, better known as Kahraba, after a very short lived journey to Europe. The three are set to return to Egyptian football despite their high quality skills that had captured the attention of scouts in Portugal and Switzerland.

In Shikabala’s case, it was nothing surprising to hear that he is back in Egypt and not returning to his team despite having a valid contract. He has not been the most disciplined player throughout his career and it does not seem that he will ever be.

Manuel Jose, Ahli’s former Portuguese coach, leveled criticism at Shikabala, revealing that he had warned Sporting Lisbon before signing the 28-year-old, saying that it was “crazy” of them to go on with the signing.

Shikabala has always been a problem for his former team, Zamalek. He has got into countless fights inside and outside the club, not to mention the number of times he disappeared, just to find him at a party. Despite his huge talent, which could be compared to the best of the best in the history of Egyptian football, it has so far been of no use either to his team in Europe or the national team.

Because of his current reputation, Zamalek has refused to take Shikabala back, while rival Ahli has made it clear that the club has no intention of bringing the player to the Red Devils. The question now remains: who is willing to put up with all the baggage the player brings with him?

Another player who has found Portugal too hard for him to stay in is Mohamed Ibrahim, the former Zamalek star. The 22-year-old signed a five-year contract with C.S. Maritimo just three month ago but has made just three appearances with his new team. Many fans had huge faith in Ibrahim and his skills to be able to take him to the top of European football in the years ahead, seeing Portugal as the beginning of the road. However, the player stunned everyone by revealing his intention to return to Egypt in the upcoming transfer period. He said

that he had decided to cut his European excursion short due to family and financial issues.

Ibrahim, just like Shikabala, has stopped training with his team, which made C.S. Maritimo lodge a complaint against the player to the FIFA. Ibrahim is now in danger of being suspended.

On the other hand, Zamalek’s President Mortada Mansour refuses to sign Ibrahim back to the club, although the new coach of the team Jaime Pacheco has expressed his willingness to bring the player back to the team. Ahli had also said that they are not interested in signing the young player, despite Ibrahim leaving the door open “to represent any team I feel that I will be an added value to”.

From Portugal to Switzerland, former Enppi player and current player for Grasshopper, Kahrabahas dropped the ball that he will return to Egypt in January after his loan period ends. The player, who has still two years in his contract with Enppi, has said that he would not mind playing for Ahli when he returns. Kahraba has said that the reason behind ending his European trial short is the lack of playing regularly.

It is not the first time that Kahraba goes on loan to Switzerland and returns. Last season he was loaned to

Luzerne, but was sent back to Egypt for disciplinary reasons.

The return of these three players to Egypt is balanced by the continuity of players like Ahmed Al-Mohamadi, Mohamed Al-Nenni, and Mohamed Salah in European football, making their presence felt, even if not playing regularly for their team, like Salah’s case this season.

Making it in Europe has never been an easy task. It requires a professional mentality and a fixed goal, two things many Egyptian players have lacked over the years, despite their outstanding talent. Players like Ibrahim Said, who was the first Egyptian to make it to the Premier League with Everton, returned just days after for the easy fame and fortune of Egyptian football, leaving behind what could have been a much better opportunity for global fame and more money.

The same mentality seems to be still running in some of the Egyptian players’ minds, although many young talents have broken the mold.

Shikabala, Ibrahim and Kahraba write a new chapter in the book of European failures for Egyptian players. The three will also have a hard time getting the promised fame and fortune here in Egypt these day, as Egyptian football passes through a dark tunnel, because of security concerns, one of the hardest times for the country’s most popular sport.

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