Cash-strapped Egyptian clubs do brisk business in transfer window

Omar Zaazou, Sunday 2 Feb 2014

Difficult financial climate sees Egyptian clubs rely on free transfers to boost their squads during winter transfer window

Egyptian Football

Despite sinking in the red and lacking solid financial backing, most Egyptian Premier League clubs were active in the January transfer market.

Clubs felt the need to beef up their squads following the new league campaign kick off in December - as last season was called off following president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in July 2013.

And due to lack of funds, most clubs were normally forced to go for unattached players.

Crisis-hit Zamalek

Despite suffering a severe financial predicament that saw some key players leave the club for free, Zamalek still managed to sign free agents Omar Gamal and Dominique da Silva.

Former Egypt international Gamal - who had an eight year-stint at boyhood club Ismaily – joined on a free transfer following a six-month loan spell at Libya's Ittihad Tripoli.

Mauritanian marksman Da Silva have now become the only foreigner in Zamalek's squad after joining for free following a torrid spell at arch-rivals Ahly, who released him by mutual consent earlier in January.

The newly-signed duo came to replace two integral members of Zamalek's roster: midfield attacking pair Mahmoud 'Shikabala' Abdel-Razek and Ahmed Eid Abdel-Malek.

Eid signed a six-month loan move with Libya's Ahly Benghazi, while Shikabala – absent from training for more than a month – left for Sporting Lisbon in a deal worth 250,000 euros.

Ahly, renowned for their financial muscle, were also unable to splash the cash in the transfer window.

Following a dismal Club World Cup campaign - which suggested Ahly were suffering from the absence of Mohamed Abou-Treika, Mohamed Nagy 'Gedo' and Ahmed Abdel-Zaher in the attacking department – the Reds were also cautious in the market.

Shoring up their frontline, Ahly retrieved Gedo from Hull City, who had the option of extending his deal in England, and signed Egypt forward Ahmed Raouf from Ittihad Libya in a swap deal involving Abdel-Zaher.

The Cairo giants took the opportunity to ditch Abdel-Zaher – who made the infamous four-finger 'Rabaa' sign during a match earlier this season – and sign Raouf instead.

Ahly also released understudy keeper Mahmoud Abou El-Seoud, who had played little first-team football over the past two seasons, sending him to newly-promoted outfit Qanah on a six-month loan deal.

Wadi Degla, owned by wealthy businessman Maged Samy, signed two former prominent names on free transfers: Essam El-Hadary and Mohamed Abdel-Wahed.

Ex-Egypt first-choice goalie El-Hadary completed his move as a free agent after his contract with Sudanese side Merreikh expired last year, while midfielder Abdel-Wahed returned to his old team after terminating his contract with Ghazl El-Mahalla.

Similarly, Haras El-Hodoud landed ex-Zamalek star Gamal Hamza for free after the flamboyant forward ended an unsuccessful spell at Georgia's Zugdidi, where he made just two appearances.

Cameroonian striker Edet Otobong also returned to the Egyptian league on an 18-month deal with Masr El-Maqassa after rescinding his contract with Moroccan side Kawkab Marrakech.

Talented Moroccan forward Omar Najdi returned for another stint at Maqassa, but the details of his contract remain undisclosed.

Abdallah El-Shahat, among a host of players who had to give up delayed payments and part ways with their respective sides, sealed a loan move to Smouha.

ENPPI released two of their young players to embark on new adventures on the other side of the Mediterranean. Egypt midfielder and African Youth Championship 2013 player of the tournament Salah Gomaa joined Portugal's Nacional Madeira on an 18-month loan and his younger brother Abdallah signed another 18-month loan contract with German second division side FC Union de Berlin.

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

Search Keywords:
Short link: