Preview: Egyptian league race likely to get hotter in new season

Ahram Online , Monday 17 Oct 2022

The Egyptian Premier League gets underway on Tuesday with excitement building up after several clubs went on a summer spending spree, with traditional powerhouses Ahly and Zamalek likely to face stiff competition at the top.

Egyptian league


Pyramids FC fought all the way last season, springing a surprise by pipping Ahly to a runners-up spot, and they are expected to launch another bid for a maiden title this term.

Defending champions Zamalek are keen to win a third consecutive title for the first time in their history while Ahly, the runaway record winners with 42 triumphs, are aware they cannot afford to fall behind again.

Zamalek are sticking to veteran Portuguese boss Jesualdo Ferreira, who masterminded a stunning league triumph last season even though the club were banned from making any new signings.

He is blessed this time around, with Zamalek signing a handful of players to plug the gaps in their squad. Their arrivals include Senegalese forward Ibrahima Ndiaye, Moroccan midfielder Zakaria El Wardi and Benin striker Samson Akinyoola.

Pyramids are counting on arguably the strongest squad in the competition, which was further strengthened by the loan signing of winger Mostafa Fathi. They have also managed to keep hold of veteran schemer Abdallah El-Said by handing him a two-year contract extension.

Although he is in the twilight of his career, the 37-year-old remains the chief architect of Pyramids' attacking moves.

Ahly made a bold move by dismissing Portuguese coach Ricardo Soares after two months in the job following their Premier League loss, bringing in Swiss Marcel Koller as his replacement.

They hope Koller can bring the team back on track after two disappointing seasons.

Ahly cited fatigue as one of the main reasons for their dip in form, especially given that they reached the African Champions League final the past three seasons, winning twice and losing once.

But they have now taken proper time off, thanks to a decision by the club's board to rest Ahly's key players in the latter stages of last season after the team had lost hope of competing for the title.

The Red Devils have made just three signings in the close season, landing Ceramica Cleopatra's attacking midfielders Shady Hussein and Mostafa Saad as well as Brazilian forward Bruno Savio, who joined from Bolivia's Club Bolivar.

Other, less fancied teams have also splashed the cash to challenge the established order.

Future FC and Masry signed almost two dozen players each while struggling Ismaily, who flirted with the unthinkable prospect of being relegated last season, also made wholesale changes.

Masry's signings include Algerian winger Abderrahim Deghmoum, Nigerian striker Anthony Okpotu and Egyptian international frontman Marwan Hamdi.

Future signed the likes of Guinean striker Hadji Barry and Moroccan winger Moroccan Abdelkabir El Ouadi while Ismaily turned to some experienced players such as former Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi and ex-Ahly playmaker Saleh Gomaa.

Aswan are also dreaming big after returning to the top flight as they made a host of new signings, which included Gabon striker Malick Evouna, who impressed during a brief spell at Ahly in 2015-16.

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