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Egyptian Premier League best XI of the season 2010/2011

Ahram Online picks the best starting XI from the Egyptian Premier League's 2010/11 season

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Jul 2011
Ghaly & Shikabala
Al-Ahly's Hossam Ghaly and El Zamalek's Mahmoud Abd El Razek Shikabala fight for the ball during their Egyptian Premier League derby soccer match at Cairo Stadium December 30, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)
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Goalkeeper: Ahmed El-Shennawi (Masry)

El-Shennawi, a 20-year-old goalkeeper, burst onto the scene this season with a string of solid displays between the sticks.

Having replaced Amir Abdel-Hamid as Masry’s first-choice guardian, he was instrumental in helping the team leak just 22 goals throughout the season with his timely reactions and stops.

El-Shennawi also impressed in Egypt’s African Youth Championship campaign in South Africa, where the young Pharaohs finished third after defeating Mali in the third-place playoff.

Right back: Ahmed Fathi (Ahly)

Ahmed Fathi was as reliable as ever as Ahly clinched a seventh consecutive Egyptian Premier League title.

He closed down spaces on the right flank with his sturdy defensive displays and notably improved the attacking aspect of his game to whip in numerous crosses for his teammates.

Fathi was Ahly’s third top scorer with four goals, including some crucial, smart and vicious right-foot free-kicks.

Left back: Ahmed Samir Farag (Ismaily)

Farag was somewhat criticised for leaving gaps behind him whenever he surged forward in Ismaily’s traditional 3-5-2 formation, but he still made the difference upfront.

His forays caused constant trouble for Ismaily’s opponents and helped him notch up six goals, two behind the team’s top scorer Abdallah Saied.

Farag, 25, also retained his place in Egypt’s squad and was voted as the best player in the Nile Basin friendly tournament.

Centre back: Eliassou Issiaka (Masry)

Eliassou Issiaka proved a rock at the back for Masry, with his consistent displays keeping opponents at bay as the Port Said-based club enjoyed the best defensive record in Egypt, having conceded just 22 goals in 30 matches.

The Malian centre back, who joined Masry last summer, was also acclaimed for his aerial abilities which helped him score six goals, including a superb brace in the 2-0 victory over Zamalek in the latter stages.

Centre back: Mohamed Naguib (Ittihad El-Shorta)

Ittihad El-Shorta had the second best defensive record after leaking 23 goals, with much of the credit going to central defender Mohamed Naguib.

Naguib, who was compared with Ahly’s evergreen defender Wael Gomaa, produced some solid displays in the heart of El-Shorta’s backline to help them to a fourth place finish.

He was also called up to the national squad by former coach Hassan Shehata.

Midfielder: Hossam Ghaly (Ahly)

Hossam Ghaly’s neat and defence-splitting passes played a pivotal role in helping Ahly bridge a six-point gap with arch-rivals Zamalek before eventually winning the title with one match to spare.

Coach Manuel Jose fielded the former Tottenham Hotspur man alongside Hossam Ashour in the heart of Ahly’s midfield following the injury to Mohamed Shawky, a tactical choice which immediately paid dividends.       

Midfielder: Mohamed Barakat (Ahly)

Barakat, 34, looked in his 20s with a series of lively displays in the second half of the season.

The penetration skills of the tireless attacking midfielder gave Ahly’s opponents hard times. Barakat netted three goals, two of which were vital in giving the Red Devils last-gasp wins over ENPPI and Ismaily.

Midfielder: Ashour El-Taqui (Wadi Degla)

Playmaker El-Taqui helped promoted Wadi Degla retain their top-flight status with some efficient displays.

His deft through passes and the eight goals he scored helped Degla finish 12th, three points clear of the relegation zone as they survived their maiden season in the Premier League.

Forward: Ahmed Eid (Harras El-Hodoud)

Forward Ahmed Eid endured an injury-ravaged campaign but still played a vital role with Harras El-Hodoud, who failed to replicate the success of the past two seasons, during which they won the Egyptian Cup twice.

Eid, making only 16 league appearances in 30 matches, finished as the competition’s third top scorer with 11 goals, two behind leading duo Mahmoud Abdel-Razek ‘Shikabala’ and Ahmed Abdel-Zaher.

Reports linked the 31-year-old with a move to Ahly in the close season.

Forward: Mahmoud Abdel-Razek "Shikabala" (Zamalek)

Shikabala, who is consistently criticized for disciplinary reasons, took the league by storm, thanks to his goal-scoring prowess, superb footwork and dazzling tricks.

The 25-year-old, who can operate as a winger or deep-lying forward, finished as the league’s joint top scorer with 13 goals although Zamalek eventually failed to end a seven-year league drought. He also made several assists for his teammates.

Zamalek are likely to face an uphill climb to keep hold of their prized asset, who was linked with a host of clubs.

Forward: Ahmed Abdel-Zaher (ENPPI)

ENPPI’s target man Ahmed Abdel-Zaher earned a place in Egypt’s squad after producing some eye-catching displays upfront.

Playing on his own or alongside diminutive striker Ahmed Raouf, Abdel-Zaher unsettled opposing defenders to finish as the league’s joint top scorer with 13 goals.

Substitutes:

Defender:  Mahmoud Fathallah (Zamalek), Left back: Ahmed Shedid (Masry), Midfielder: Amr El-Sulaya (Ismaily), Hussein Yasser (Zamalek), Forward: Abdullah Saied (Ismaily), Mohamed Nagy "Gedo" (Ahly), Edet Otobong (Ittihad).

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