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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

A Pharaoh in Greece

Marawan Elshafei reflects on Ahmed Hassan Koka’s biggest achievement: the first Egyptian player to win the Greek football league

Marawan Elshafei, Tuesday 14 Jul 2020
Koka
Koka
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Ahmed Hassan Koka, the 27-year-old striker, celebrated the league title with the Greek giants, the first Egyptian to be a member of a team that has won the tournament.

The towering striker, loaned from Sporting Braga to Olympiacos until the end of the season, netted a brace, including a penalty kick, as Olympiacos secured a 4-2 victory against Thessaloniki in the playoffs.

This season, Koka played in 23 matches, played 1,159 minutes and scored nine goals.

At the beginning of the season in Portugal, he played seven games with Braga, scoring only one goal in all competitions. He was then loaned to Olympiacos where he hit better form, participating in 16 games and netting eight goals, all in the Greek league.

Following Koka’s recent form, his coach Pedro Martins, a Portuguese former football player, asked the club’s board to extend his loan or sign him on a permanent deal from Braga, saying he admired what the player is capable of and his scoring abilities which, he added, have helped the team reach higher standards.

During his football career, Koka played 254 games, scored 80 goals and had 19 assists.

Sporting Braga (108 games - 25 goals - 15 assists).

Rio Ave (98 games - 32 goals - four assists)

Olympiacos (48 games - 23 goals).

He began his career in his native Egypt in the youth academy at Ahly, then joined Portuguese side Rio Ave in 2012 without participating with the first team.

Koka made his professional debut for Rio Ave in September 2012. In 2015, he joined rival Portuguese club Sporting Braga, helping the club win the Taca De Portugal during his first season at the club.

He represented the Egyptian National Team at Under-20 and U-23 tournaments before making his debut for the senior squad in August 2013, scoring in a victory over Uganda.

He was part of the Egypt squad that reached the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 16 July, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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