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Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Egypt's Ahly sign Moroccan defender Benoun from Raja

Badr Benoun joins Ahly on a four-year deal as the Egyptian champions make their second close-season signing

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Nov 2020
Badr Benoun
Badr Benoun unveiled as Ahly's new signing (Photo: A club handout)
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Ahly have completed the signing of Raja's Moroccan defender Badr Benoun on a four-year deal for their second close-season acquisition, the Egyptian champions announced on Wednesday.

"The club has finalised the deal and received the player's international clearance," Ahly said in a brief statement on their official website without disclosing the transfer fee they had paid to Casablanca-based club Raja.

Although Ahly boasted the best defensive record in their triumphant Egyptian Premier League campaign, having only conceded eight goals, their regular central defenders were still criticised for some shaky displays.

The team's backline was also hit with a string of injuries, prompting Ahly to explore the market for a new center back.

Benoun would fit into Ahly's new-found strategy under South African coach Pitso Mosimane, who usually prefers ball-playing defenders who can keep possession and contribute to build-up play further upfield.

The towering 27-year-old has been a key member of Raja's squad in the past few years.

This season, he helped them win the domestic league on the final day of the season and reach the African Champions League semi-final, where they lost to Ahly's perennial Cairo rivals Zamalek 4-1 on aggregate.

He was partly to blame for one of Zamalek's goals in the return leg in Cairo when he allowed striker Mostafa Mohamed to rise unchallenged and send a bullet header home to kill off Raja's hopes.

But he looked otherwise solid and composed, and is expected to face little competition to occupy a regular spot in Ahly's defence.

Benoun's arrival means Ahly would have to offload one of their foreign players, with Angolan winger Geraldo and Senegalese striker Aliou Badji tipped to leave.

The Red Devils also signed Arab Contractors winger Taher Mohamed Taher in July.

Ahly are still in with treble chance this season, having won the league, reached the Egypt Cup quarters and the Champions League final, where they will face Zamalek in a mouthwatering clash on 27 November.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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