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INTERVIEW: Egypt debutant Aly Ghazal speaks to KingFut
The 22-year-old CD Nacional player has been previously called up by former Egypt and USA manager Bob Bradley but never got to play. But in a much changed Egypt team under Shawky Gharib, the player was given a chance to feature in defense and successfully came out with a clean sheet against a side with one of the best strikers in the world in Edin Džeko.
KingFut.com caught up with the promising defender following his Egypt debut…
You were called up before to the camp by Bradley but you didn’t play. How does it feel to finally represent Egypt?
It feels great to play for your national team. It is a dream for me that became true! I got my chance and elhamdulilah (thank God) I did my best to keep it.
You had a good game against Bosnia at centre-back but you often play in midfield for Nacional. Which do you prefer?
Yes, my real position is at centre-back but I played in midfield for only one year before Nacional and I play in midfield for Nacional. Both are good for me.
We played with three defenders against Bosnia. Do you see yourself in the libero position in the future for Egypt?
Yes, we played with three defenders but I wasn’t the libero I played central at the right. I can play all [across] the line without problems.
Gharib seems to prefer the three centre-back system. Do you prefer that or the more traditional 4-4-2/4-5-1?
Every coach has his own tactics. I know how to play both in both strategies so I do not have any problem.
How do you rate Gharib after your first meeting? Did you notice any differences between him and Bradley?
To be honest I can’t give a bit of notice but only one thing is important, all the managers are so kind and friendly to be loved.
How did you feel to know that you will play against one of the best forwards in the world in Edin Džeko?
It was not easy of course, but I played here in Portugal against big strikers like Óscar Cardozo and Jackson Martinez so I was like ‘why not?’.
CD Nacional and Life in Portgual
How is life at Nacional? Does having another Egyptian at the club make it easier? Did you know Gomaa before the transfer?
Life here is great and when Gomaa came, it was even better because I had someone to speak my language with; but no, I did not know him before [moving to Portugal].
With several Egyptian players now playing in Portugal, are you in contact with any of them?
I am in contact with Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’. I didn’t speak with Shikabala directly but he knows me and of course I know him; but the rest I don’t know.
There were rumors about offers from Swansea City and Saint Etienne. Some papers even went as far as linking you with Liverpool?
That was true but they only sent scouts, not real offers. Till now I have some [offers] and soon you are going to know great things inshallah (if God wills).
Salah, Future of Egyptian Football and Personal Favorites
Have you talked to Salah after his transfer to Chelsea? If so, what went on between you guys? Do you think moving to Liverpool would’ve been a better option?
I did not speak with him after he moved to Chelsea but for me, as Aly, I wished he went to Liverpool.
Amidst political unrest in Egypt, what are your views on what’s currently going on and what do you think of the future of football there?
Everything is not [the same] as before in Egypt. Everything is getting worse but I can see that from the moment the next president is there, it will get better. I wish that the real football [league] comes back and not that friendly league without fans, but first the Ultras need to go to support their team and not for anything else.
Finally, what’s your favorite club in Egypt and abroad? Who is your favorite player, coach and where do you wish to play in the future?
My favorite team in Egypt is Wadi Degla. I like Manuel Machado (Nacional coach). My idol is Patrick Viera and my dream is to play in Arsenal.
The KingFut team would like to wish Aly all the best in his footballing career and thank him for his efforts.