Foreign players are expected to have a bigger impact on the Egyptian Premier League as the new season kicks off after the clubs voted in favour of a proposal to raise the quota of overseas footballers in the premier domestic competition.
Upon a request from the majority of clubs, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) agreed to allow every side to register up to four foreign players in their squad. The new rule also allows them to sign up to two Syrians and two Palestinians, who would not be registered as foreigners.
The clubs immediately took advantage, splashing the cash to bolster their rosters with the addition of foreigners as they struggled in a local market devoid of talents.
Cairo giants and perennial rivals Ahly and Zamalek spent big in the summer transfer window and other, less fancied clubs followed suit.
Below is a list of the most prominent foreign players who were signed by Egyptian clubs ahead of the new season.
Walid Azaro (Morocco, Ahly)
The Moroccan international striker joined Ahly on a four-year deal for $1.4 million from Difaa El Jadida in June.
Azaro, who said he hopes to emulate Ahly and Egypt great Mohamed Abou-Treika, was quickly thrown into the fray, featuring in the Arab Club Championship and scoring his maiden goal in a semi-final defeat by Jordan's Al-Faisaly.
The 22-year-old will be looking to establish himself as Ahly's number one striker after the Red Devils struggled to find a reliable frontman last term.
Phakamani Mahlambi (South Africa, Ahly)
Ahly signed the youngster from Bidvest Wits on a four-year deal in August, becoming the first Egyptian club to land a South African player.
Mahlambi caught the eyes with some fine displays last season, scoring six goals in 13 league appearances with Bidvest Wits.
The 19-year-old is considered a hot prospect and Ahly are likely to give him a chance to prove his worth in the new season.
Kabongo Kasongo (Congo, Zamalek)
The Congolese forward made a high-profile move to Zamalek in June after impressing with Alexandria-based club Ittihad last season.
He netted 12 Egyptian league goals in 23 appearances and proved a constant menace to opponents with his pace and physical attributes.
Kasongo is likely to be a key player for Zamalek next term. He can either play as a deep-lying forward or winger.
Benjamin Acheampong (Ghana, Zamalek)
Another foreign striker to join Zamalek in the close season is Ghanaian Benjamin Acheampong, who arrived from fellow Egyptian Premier League side Dakhleya.
The 27-year-old scored 10 goals in 31 league appearances with Dakhleya last term, providing two assists.
Aristide Bance (Burkina Faso, Masry)
Bance is one of the most high-profile summer arrivals in the Egyptian league, having joined Port Said-based club Masry from Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas.
The experienced 32-year-old frontman played an instrumental role in steering Burkina Faso to a place at the 2013 African Nations Cup final and a semi-final berth in the 2017 edition in Gabon, scoring against Egypt in a 1-1 draw before the Pharaohs prevailed in penalty shootout.
Mohamed Koffi (Burkina Faso, Masry)
Masry signed another Burkinabe in versatile defender Mohamed Koffi, who was offloaded by Zamalek after spending last season on loan at Saudi Arabia's Ettifaq.
Koffi moved to Masry on a two-year deal after being deemed surplus to requirements at Zamalek although he was one of their key players when they won a rare domestic double in 2015.
The 30-year-old was regular starter for Burkina Faso when they reached the Nations Cup final in 2013.
Nikola Komazec (Serbia, Smouha)
The Serbian striker is one of few European players to make a move to the Egyptian league in the past decade, having joined Alexandria-based club Smouha in the summer.
The little-known frontman had spells in Norway, Georgia, Hong Kong among other countries.
He was described as a "super signing" by Smouha's chairman Farag Amer.
Bojan Najdenov (Macedonia, Smouha)
Smouha signed another European in Macedonia international Bojan Najdenov.
Najdenov is a creative midfielder who played last season at Macedonia's Rabotnicki Skopje, scoring four goals in the Europa League qualifying rounds.
He has made his debut for Macedonia in 2014.
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