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Of great value
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 07 - 2018

After the disappointing performance of the Egyptian national team in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, losing all three matches, conceding six goals and scoring only two, the country's players and teams will be back in business in less than two weeks.
No doubt, the beautiful game we witnessed in Russia cannot compare to our domestic league in terms of excitement and professionalism. But expect some excitement of its own when the new Egyptian season starts.
A few months ago, there was a newborn in the football industry here in Egypt called Pyramids FC. With Turki Al-Sheikh, head of sports in Saudi Arabia, as the owner and financier, and former Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri as the club's president, this new club now is putting all its financial resources to try and end the dominance of powerhouses Ahly and Zamalek in the Egyptian championships.
From day one, Pyramids FC took major steps to compete for the Egyptian league this year. First, they appointed a Brazilian as head coach, Alberto Valentim. Then they signed more than 15 players in less than one month.
Pyramids FC until now have signed players for more than LE420 million. They succeeded in getting Marcos da Silva Franca, known as Keno, from the Brazilian league for eight million euros, making him the most expensive player in the history of the Egyptian league. They also were able to acquire the 21-year-old Brazilian striker Lucas Ribamar from Atletico Paranaense.
From the Egyptian league, Pyramids FC signed Ahmed Al-Shinnawi and Al-Mahdi Suleiman as goalkeepers. They also signed Ali Gabr, Abdullah Bakri, Omar Gaber and Mohamed Hamdi as defenders. In the midfield they signed Ahmed Tawfik, Mohamed Magdi “Afsha”, Mohamed Fathi, Ragab Bakkar and Naser Mansi, as well assigning Mustafa Fathi, Mohamed Farouk and Ahmed Khaled to play as forwards.
On one hand there is the 40-time Egyptian league winner Ahly Club. They won the Egyptian league last season and are ready to defend the title again.
The Red Devils with their new French head coach Patrice Carteron will fight not only for the domestic league but also for the African Champions League title.
Ahly were able to land five players by signing Salif Coulibaly, Ahmed Alaa, Mustafa Al-Badri, Ammar Hamdi and Naser Maher who ended his loan in Smouha Club.
Ahly also sold two of its players, Abdullah Said to the Saudi Arabia club Al Ahly and John Antwi to Masr Al-Makassa. The two players were sold for a total of $2.8 million.
On the other hand, there is Zamalek SC with Mortada Mansour as president and Christian Gross as their new manager. They did not let this transfer window pass by without also making some big signings.
Mansour, who averages 10 signings and three managers every season, managed to sign eight players till now.
Zamalek also released some players from its squad, including Nana Boko, Hossam Paolo, Moayad Al-Agaan and Ramzi Khaled.
They also sold Ahmed Al-Shinnawi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Tawfik, Mohamed Al-Shami, Mohamed Magdi and Khaled Kamar and loaned Bassem Morsi, Mustafa Fathi, Ahmed Dawooda and Razzak Cisse for one year.
Zamalek also signed Tunisia international midfielder Ferjani Sassi from Al-Nasr FC for $4 million.
They also brought in Ibrahim Hassan, Bahaa Magdi, Mohamed Hassan, Emad Al-Sayed, Omar Al-Said and Mohamed Abdel-Salam from the Egyptian league and managed to secure the transfer of Moroccan forward Hamid Ahdad to a four-year contract for $1.4 million.
At the moment, the Egyptian Premier League has a total market value of 120 million euros. Meanwhile, one Egyptian player playing in Europe is valued at 135 million euros. Guess we all know who that one is — the Egyptian king Mohamed Salah.
It's just hard to believe any player currently in the Egyptian league deserving these amounts. One is still not over the devastating performance by these players in the World Cup.
Hopefully, the upcoming Egyptian league season will be more professional, exciting and thrilling, and that the title winner is not known until the finals stages as opposed to previous races in which the winner was determined many weeks in advance. Loyal football lovers deserve it.

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