The first player to emerge from Egypt this millennium and make his mark on Europe was Ahmed Hossam Hussein Abdelhamid, better known as Mido. He is probably the most famous Egyptian export of the noughties. He played his trade in the Pro League, Eredivisie, Ligue 1, La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League.
Despite playing in some of Europe’s top leagues and for an array of glittering clubs, including Ajax, Marseille, Roma and Tottenham Hotspur, the talented striker never reached his full potential due to a combination of injuries and clashes with both players and managers. He retired at the age of 30 after being released by Barnsley.
Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny are the new of wave of Egyptians. They are both making their mark on the European stage for Roma and Arsenal respectively. However, they were both scouted and signed by Basel who are ahead of competition in the Egyptian market. The Swiss side have already confirmed the signing of Zamalek right-back Omar Gaber and are also wanting to sign his teammate, Mostafa Fathi.
The Swiss giants have watched the Zamalek prodigy, Mostafa Fathi, numerous times this season, and a club delegate was in the stands on Thursday to watch the Egyptian international against Petrojet. During the January transfer window both Inter and Empoli showed interest in the winger but no concrete offer materialised.
The 22-year-old came under the spotlight after his outstanding performances helped the Cairo giants win the domestic double last season. The left-footed winger, who plays as in inverted winger on the right flank, scored the winning goal on his debut against legendary keeper Essam El Hadry. Not only did this help to establish himself as a fan favorite, but it also earned him the nickname of El Safel (The Immoral) because of the way he humiliates defenders and keepers with his skill on a regular basis.
Fathi’s Nigerian teammate, Moruf Yusyf, has said that he’s more dangerous than Roma’s Mohamed Salah. His former manager, Mido, has also praised the talented winger, saying that he’s one of the most talented players he has ever seen. This praise is justified. Fathi floats past defenders with his blistering pace and he’s left many defenders trailing in his wake. He has quick feet and outstanding agility. Playing as an inverted winger he cuts inside on a regular basis causing all sorts of problems for the defence. Due to having the ability to shoot with both feet, he is a constant threat to keepers.
Whether or not Basel follow up their initial interest in him, it’s only a matter of time before there’s another Egyptian making headlines in Europe.