Sobhi in Ahly's training session (Photo: Ahly's official website)
Ahly's returning winger Ramadan Sobhi says he is ready and motivated to start playing immediately with the Cairo giants, insisting that the Reds have a chance at the domestic league and African Champions titles this season.
"I am totally fit to play with Ahly as I have been training hard recently," Sobhi said in an interview with Ahly's official website published on Monday evening.
Sobhi has joined Ahly from Huddersfield Town on a six-month loan, starting from the January transfer window.
The agreement between the Egyptian club and their English counterparts includes an option to permanently sign the player after the loan period ends if both parties agree.
"I am waiting for the technical staff's call up to appear in matches. I am motivated to play and contribute in achieving victories in the coming matches," said Sobhi, who participated in his first training session with the Reds under new coach Martin Lasarte on Sunday.
"There is a strong competition to book the place of the attacking winger as this position already includes good players. This variety helps the team a lot especially amid the intense matches' schedule.
"The presence of new coach Lasarte is a motivator for all players to prove their worth. He highlighted the importance of being fully concentrated and also to do our best to achieve success," he added.
The 21-year-old Egypt international, who left Ahly in the summer of 2016 to see out his career in Europe via Stoke City, has made 74 appearances with Ahly throughout his career with his childhood club, scoring 17 goals and making 15 assists in all competitions.
Sobhi struggled to find a place in Huddersfield’s squad this season, making a mere four appearances with the team with a total of only 75 minutes of playtime.
"I received many offers, but joining Ahly was my priority after their official talks to sign me in November," Sobhi explained.
"Ahly is always my home. I couldn't hesitate to return again.
"Huddersfield officials opposed my departure at first but I persuaded them to reach the agreement over the loan deal as it was my desire at the time being. I will do my best to please the fans, win titles and then return back to play in Europe.
"Every player dreams of playing in Europe and my career with Ahly helped me to get that chance," added Sobhi, who made his debut with Egypt in 2015 and has since featured 28 times so far for the Pharaohs, scoring only once.
Sobhi is Ahly’s fourth winter transfer-window signing, after winger Mohamed Mahmoud from Wadi Degla, left-back Mahmoud Wahid from Maqassa, and winger Geraldo da Costa from Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto.
Big chances for Ahly
Champions Ahly are currently sixth in the Egyptian league table with 24 points from 12 games, 14 points adrift of leaders Zamalek, who have played three more games.
Prior to Lasarte’s signing Ahly were being led by caretaker coach Mohamed Youssef, as Frenchman Patrice Carteron was sacked in November following a bitter loss to Tunisia's Esperance in the African Champions League final, and an elimination from the Arab Zayed Cup in the final 16 stage.
Under Youssef the team have qualified for the group stage of the Champions League after winning 2-1 on aggregate against Ethiopia's Jimma Aba Jifar.
"We have big chances to win the league title and also to compete strongly for the Champions League title. The race is still open in both competitions," Sobhi said.
"The experienced players alongside the newcomers and the young ones will all boost the team's chances to win titles despite the shaky performances recently."
Record eight-time winners Ahly were handed a favourable African Champions League draw after being placed with DR Congo's Vita Club, Tanzania's Simba and JS Saoura of Algeria on Friday.
"The draw is a balanced one. Ahly have big experiences to deliver strong performances and proceed to next stage. All players will fight to restore the African title this season," he concluded.
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