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INTERVIEW: FC Luzern’s Swiss U19 starlet Omar Thali would consider Egypt
It was another fantastic Egyptian-flavoured weekend for FC Luzern. Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim, who carries the relevant nickname Kahraba – meaning ‘Electricity’ in Arabic – has continued to provide the spark for the Lucerne-based side after scoring his third goal in as many starts on Saturday, to see the club move within just four points of league leaders FC Basel.
Kahraba’s goal led to him being named in Blick’s Swiss Super League Team of the Round for the third consecutive week. However, the 19-year-old, who only arrived in Switzerland on loan from Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI) Club in August, isn’t the only Egyptian who continues to find the back of the net in Lucerne.
— FC Luzern (@FCL_1901) October 28, 2013
#Thali, Omar Thali. The speedy Switzerland U-19 international of Egyptian descent scored a goal at the end of each half on Sunday – his eighth and ninth goal in only his last five appearances – to lead FC Luzern’s U-21s to a 2-0 win against Münsingen.
We here at KingFut.com have been following Omar Thali since one of our readers (Omar Ezzat) pointed him out to us in May, and we felt now would be a great time to catch up with the talented 18-year-old Egyptian-Swiss striker…
Tell us a little about yourself Omar, you were born in Switzerland, correct?
Yes, I was born in Switzerland. My father is Egyptian and my mother is Swiss.
Many Egyptian fans will be wondering, can you speak Arabic?
Ahh just a little bit, shwaya shwaya.
Omar Thali – Promising Pharaoh
When did you start playing football?
When I was eight, I think. In the town where I live now, in Zug – I started there. I moved to Lucerne when I was 15 years old.
You have an impressive goal scoring tally with Luzern already, have you been keeping count?
I’m not in the first team right now, I’m with the U-21s… Altogether? Ohh, I don’t know. This season nine; but in the first year, I don’t know. More than 30-40, but I don’t know exactly.
Kahraba joined the club this year, have you met with him already?
Yes, when he came new. When he came with the manager in the first two days I saw him and then I went to him. At first he was just staying at the hotel, he didn’t know anybody in Lucerne, you know? He was alone, and I know some Egyptian people in Lucerne so I told him about the other Egyptians.
How about Mohamed Salah and El-Nenny, do you follow their progress at FC Basel?
I don’t see them, but yes, of course [I follow them].
How much are they talked about in Switzerland?
About Salah, very much.
There must be a lot of hype surrounding Kahraba now as well after scoring three goals in his last three games?
Yes, he’s in the newspapers everywhere. ‘Kahraba’, ‘Kahraba goal’, everywhere.
Are you excited about the prospect of linking up with Kahraba on the same team?
It would be very nice [to play with Kahraba], inshallah. I think I will go in winter, to the first team. If everything goes normally I will go in winter, but by the summer 100%. You know I’ve been injured from March until August (with , six months I couldn’t play. Before that I was already on the first team, but just training not the games. When I came back from injury I was back again with the second team.
What’s your favourite club? Where would you dream of playing in the future?
My favourite club is Paris Saint-Germain, because [Zlatan] Ibrahimović is there. I like Ibrahimović.
Tell us about your international career so far, when was the first time you represented Switzerland?
U-15 I think was the first time. This season is my first with the U-19s and I’ve scored two goals (in two friendlies against Romania).
Who was the first coach to select you for Switzerland’s youth national team?
Dany Ryser, he saw me playing in Lucerne. He also won the  World Cup in Nigeria (as a coach) with the U-17s of Switzerland.
What was your feeling when you first got the invitation to join the Swiss national team?
The invitation to the national team is always something special. You are from the best in the country, and it’s something special, you know? But from Egypt I’ve never had an offer.
You are still eligible to play for Egypt since you’ve yet to represent Switzerland’s senior side, what would your reaction be if the senior national team of Egypt came calling?
I would go to look, and if it’s the first team it’s no problem. I will look with my manager (agent).
So would Omar Thali consider playing for Egypt?
Yes, of course I would think about it.
Okay, so let’s say if both Egypt and Switzerland’s senior national teams were to ask you to play for them, which one would you choose?
Ohh, I can’t say that now. It’s really very difficult to think about… I love Egypt you know.
Have you ever visited Egypt?
Yes, maybe 5-6 times; five times.
Do you follow Egyptian football at all?
Yes, the national team and the league just sometimes. I know Al-Ahly and Zamalek, good teams. The national team against Ghana, they weren’t good huh?
Do you think the Pharaohs still has a chance to qualify to the World Cup?
No, I don’t think so. It’s difficult. I was very sad.
Who’s you favourite Egyptian player?
I like Amr Zaki and Emad Meteb.
How about your favourite club in Egypt?
Al Ahly. I have a t-shirt from Al Ahly.
Have you been following Ahly in the African Champions League this year?
I don’t see the games, but I always look at the live scores. I can’t watch it here on TV you know?
Ahly are going to play Orlando Pirates in the first leg of the final on Saturday, who do you think is going to win?
Al Ahly, of course.
Would you ever consider playing for an Egyptian club later on in your career?
Yes, why not? Of course I would think about it. When I have a good offer, then yes.
You’ve been following us on KingFut for some time now, what are your thoughts on the website?
It’s a very good website, very professional. You support many Egyptian players.
Anything Omar Thali would like to say to his Egyptian fans?
A message to them from me… They can believe in me!
It was a pleasure and an honor, KingFut.com wishes Omar Thali the best in his career.