Egyptian Premier League 2015/16: Top players to watch

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Oct 2015

Ahram Online selects six players who are expected to catch the eyes in the new Egyptian Premier League season, which kicked off on Tuesday

Malick Evouna (Ahly)

Evouna
(Photo: Ahram)

All eyes are on Gabon striker Malick Evouna after he became the record signing in Egyptian football, having joined Ahly for a reported fee of $2.4 million. The Gabon striker was signed after making a huge impact with Wydad in the Moroccan league, where he finished as the competition's top scorer last season. Evouna, fondly nicknamed The Virus by Ahly's faithful, is an imposing striker with great physical presence and impressive pace. He has only scored a couple of goals with Ahly since his summer arrival and struggled with minor injuries but the fans have great confidence in him due to the obvious threat he poses to opposing defences.

Mahmoud Kahraba (Zamalek)

Mahmoud Kahraba
Mahmoud Kahraba inspires Zamalek to a 4-1 victory over South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the African Confederation Cup in Cairo on Sunday (Photo: the player's official Twitter account)

On his first day on the training ground, coach Jesualdo Ferreira boosted his confidence by telling him "Welcome star". The flamboyant international forward has proved to be Zamalek's deadliest weapon since joining in the summer. Skillful, fast and with a good scoring instinct, Kaharaba gave Zamalek a much needed spark, toying with his opponents far too easily. The 21-year-old winger inspired Zamalek to the Egypt Cup title and settled in to become an undisputed starter. However, the former ENPPI, Luzern and Grasshopper player has come under criticism recently after wasting a penalty kick against Ahly in last week's Super Cup when Zamalek were leading 1-0. The White Knights ended up losing 3-2 and Kahraba was blamed for his insistence to take the penalty although he was not the designated penalty taker.

Hossam 'Paolo' Salama (Smouha)

hossam paolo
hossam paolo

Striker Hossam 'Paolo' Salama aims to carry on from where he left off last season when the finished as the Egyptian Premier League top scorer, but with his new club Smouha.
The 32-year-old helped Dakhleya retain their top-flight status with a string of impressive displays, having bagged 20 out of the 43 goals the team scored during their whole campaign last term.
Several reports have suggested that Paolo was close to joining Ismaily but Smouha, league runners up in 2014, beat them to his signature.

Mahmoud Shikabala (Ismaily)

Shikabala
Zamalek's Shikabala (Reuters)

The gifted forward has been given a lifeline by former teammate Ahmed Hossam "Mido", who is now in charge of Ismaily. The 29-year old left Zamalek to join Sporting Lisbon in January 2014 but failed to feature in any game for the first team. He went AWOL in August that year and Sporting suspended him. Zamalek decided to bring him back this summer and loan him to Ismaily, where Mido vowed to help him restore his glory. Since his return, Shikabala has been training intensively to regain fitness and live up to the expectations of his former teammate.

Ramadan Sobhi (Ahly)

 Ramadan Subhi
File Photo: Ramadan Subhi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The rising Ahly star is seen as Egypt's hottest prospect. At 18, he has already represented all youth teams and made his senior team debut on 14 June to become the second youngest player ever to feature for Egypt after former Zamalek striker Mido. The strength, skills and tactical flexibility of Sobhi helped him become a key member of Ahly's star-studded squad, giving plenty of options to the coach to play him on the right, left or centre. He was quickly idolized by the fans after showboating twice against Zamalek in the Cairo derby despite the controversy he created. With great support comes great responsibility as now Sobhi, who is said to be the new Abou-Treika, will have to further develop after raising the bar high.

Mohamed Zidan (El-Entag El-Harbi)

Mohamed Zidan
File Photo. Egyptian striker Mohamed Zidan (photo: AP)

At the age of 33, Mohamed Zidan is trying to re-launch his career. The two-time Africa champion with Egypt has been out of action since January 2013 after terminating his contract with Emirati team Bani Yas. He underwent a surgery and struggled with a series of injuries before resuming training a few months ago. The former Dortmund, Werder Dremen and Mainz striker has joined promoted side El-Entag El-Harbi to make his debut in the Egyptian Premier League after spending his entire career playing in Denmark and Germany.

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