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Yearender 2018: Foreign players make their mark in Egyptian football

Ahram Online compiles a list of the best foreign players in Egyptian football in 2018

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Dec 2018
Ferjani, Azaro, Antwi, Keno
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Views: 3340

John Antwi

John Antwi

The former Ahly and Ismaily player has proven himself one of the outstanding number-9 strikers in the Egyptian League.

Antwi was sent on loan from Cairo giants Ahly to Maqassa in the summer of 2017, where he scored 16 times for the Fayoum-based club during the 2017/2018, prompting them to sign him on a permanent basis.

The burly 26-year-old has scored seven league goals for Maqassa so far this season and netted once in the Egypt Cup, taking his tally to 13 in the calendar year of 2018 in all competitions.

The Ghanaian, who has never featured for his national team, became the Egyptian league's foreign top scorer of all time after his hat-trick against Enppi last November.

Anwti has scored a total of 64 goals throughout his career in Egypt, beating his compatriot Ernest Papa Arko (61 goals).

 

 

Walid Azaro

Walid Azaro

Moving to Ahly in the summer of 2017 for $1.4 million, the Moroccan international broke the record of the highest number of goals scored by a foreign player in a single season in his first in the Egyptian league.

Azaro netted 18 goals in 30 appearances in 2017/2018, beating the 17-goal record of Ahly's former Angolan striker Flavio Amado and former Ismaily man John Utaka of Nigeria.

In 2018, the 23-year-old striker led his Cairo side to the CAF Champions League final as he scored 6 goals in a campaign that saw Ahly lose the final against Tunisia's ES Esperance.

Azaro has scored 19 goals for Ahly in all competitions in the calendar year of 2018.

 

 

Shemeles Bekele

Shemeles Bekele

Petrojet's Ethiopian midfielder Shemeles Bekele, the oldest of the current crop of foreign players in the Egyptian Premier League, reached his peak in 2018, netting 10 goals over two league seasons.

The 28-year-old has scored 29 league goals since joining Petrojet in the 2014/2015 season from Sudanese side Al-Merrikh.

He netted three league goals last season in the calendar year of 2018, before adding seven more in 15 appearances in the current 2018/2019 season.

Bekele is now Petrojet's top scorer and the second in the league's scoring charts with seven goals, just one behind leading scorer Mahmoud Alaa of Zamalek.

However, Petrojet lie at the bottom of the table despite Bekele's exploits.

 

Keno

Keno

The Brazilian winger made an earth-shattering move from Palmeiras to Egypt's big-spending club Pyramids FC last summer for a record transfer fee of $10 million.

The 29-year-old lived up to expectations, showing superb dribbling, passing and shooting skills. His quality is seldom seen in Egyptian football.

In 16 appearances with Pyramids, Keno scored eight times and made five assists in all competitions in the calendar year of 2018

 

Ferjani Sassi

ferjani sassi

Despite joining Zamalek just a few months ago, Tunisian central midfielder Ferjani Sassi has already proven himself as one of the top performers in the Egyptian Premier League in 2018.

The 26-year-old moved to the White Knights on a three-year contract from Tunisian side Esperance in July. He quickly adapted to the team to become one of their key players, making ten league appearances out of 13 and scoring a solitary goal.

He proved instrumental in dictating play in midfield, presenting himself as a great distributor of the ball.

After his outstanding performances, rumors swirled that Sassi has received offers to leave the Cairo club in January, but the Tunisian international said that winning trophies with Zamalek is his priority for the time being.

"The atmosphere at Zamalek is wonderful. I felt at home, especially with the presence of my countryman [Zamalek defender] Hamdi Nagguez, and that helped me a lot to shine in recent matches," Sassi said in a recent interview with Al-Ahram Al-Riyadi magazine, adding that his dream is to play in Europe in the future.

"I have confidence in my abilities, and the fans' support has also played an instrumental role in helping me shine with the team.

"I am fully concentrating on delivering an outstanding season and winning a number of titles with Zamalek," the former Sfaxien and Saudi Arabia's Al-Nasr man added.

 

Eric Traore

Eric Traoré

Scoring six league goals and one in the Egypt Cup during the calendar year of 2018 was enough for Burkinabe Eric Traore to prove his worth, and accordingly to join Egypt's new rich club Pyramids FC in a mega-deal this winter.

Since joining Maqassa in the summer of 2016 from Aswan, the 22-year old has been always high on the list of the scorers' chart, netting 15 league goals since.

In the 2018/2019 season, Traore has scored four times and provided three assists in 13 league appearances, attracting the attention of Cairo giants Ahly, Zamalek and rising football powerhouse Pyramids FC, formerly known as Assiouty Sport.

Traore's outstanding performance helped Maqassa win eight matches out of 17 played this season to move up to third in the league table with 27 points, 11 behind leaders Zamalek.

After a hot race to get the player's services, the league's top-spending club Pyramids announced early in December that they have signed Traore on a five-year contract starting from January in a deal estimated at three million euros.

Pyramids FC, who are currently second in the league table, is coached by Egypt's iconic striker Hossam Hassan.

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