Preview: Ahly in buoyant mood after extending contract of key players
Ahram Online, Tuesday 4 Nov 2014

Holders Ahly are not only buoyed by a 4-2 win over promoted Damanhour which helped make up for a woeful start to their Egyptian Premier League campaign but they are also delighted after boosting their long-term plans by extending the contract of a handful of key players.

Eight players have pledged their future to the Red Devils ahead of their league game against Arab Contractors on Wednesday, including winger Walid Soliman who has been their most impressive performer so far this season.

Other key players who were awarded with new deals include in-form striker Amr Gamal, who has recently suffered a serious knee injury that will rule him out of action for at least six months, and defensive duo Mohamed Naguib and Saad Samir.

The club also handed out new contracts to midfielder Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan, who caught the eyes with a series of fine displays this term, and promising attacking midfielders Ramadan Sobhi and Karim Bambo.

"Those names are the teams' future so the management decided to keep them in the squad," said Ahly's football supervisor Alaa Abdel-Sadek.

Ahly were facing their worst start to a season in almost a decade after collecting only five points from their opening four matches after some disappointing results including a 0-0 draw at top-flight debutants Assiouti Sport.

But they recovered in style, producing a fine attacking display to down promoted Damanhour 4-2 in an exciting game at Cairo Stadium, with forgotten striker Emad Meteb scoring a hat-trick after replacing Gamal in the starting line-up.

Although Ahly lie 13th in the 20-team table with eight points, they still have two games in hand which would put them among the top three should they bag maximum points.

They will be hoping to claim their second successive league win at the expense of Arab Contractors, a powerful Egyptian side in the 1980s and 1990s who are one of seven clubs to win the country's premier domestic competition.

Nicknamed the Mountain Wolves, Contractors made a poor start to the new campaign, gaining six points from seven games.

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