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INTERVIEW: Gil Vicente starlet Amr Mokhtar speaks to KingFut
It’s not everyday we get to see a rising star from Egypt slowly but surely making a name for himself in Portugal. Amr Mokhtar, Egypt’s young and upcoming centre-back plys his trade in Portugal with Gil Vicente, having signed on from ENPPI last summer. He went on to score four goals for the club’s U-19 team – despite playing in a centre-back position throughout the season – was named the club’s ‘best junior player’ and continues to grow in stature.
Fresh from his triumph in the U-19 2nd Division North Zone promotion phase, KingFut.com‘s Mohamed Seif sat down with Amr Mokhtar to talk about Portugal, his aspirations and more.
Tell us how you became a Gil Vicente player. Why Portugal?
My agent [Mamdouh Eid] got me a trial in Gil Vicente and I got accepted after staying for one week. Portugal is a great step for young players.
How have you found the transition from Egypt to Portugal? What are the major differences, obstacles and positives?
In Portugal, everything is much more organised. Players know what to do on the field, but as a person that used to watch European football, I didn’t struggle a lot and adapted to the game so fast.
Receiving the youth award with Gil Vicente, what was that like?
It has been one of the best moments I’ve ever lived. It was a great honor for me.
Have you been playing in different positions during your time in Portugal? You’ve got a decent number of goals to your name.
I have been playing as a centre-back the whole season and it suits me. About the goals, if I have the opportunity, I score.
Is centre-back your preferred position?
I see myself as a centre-back. I like to make people [feel] safe when I’m playing.
What areas of your game would you like to improve?
There is always room for improvement in everything.
Tell us a bit about the Portuguese youth league final and how the game went. What is the team’s next target?
The final was against Boavista in Bessa, their stadium. It was a very hard, decisive match for both teams but we scored from a penalty and we managed to keep our goal clean. Now we are looking forward to the final of Portugal. I hope we have a decent game.
What short and long-term goals have you set for yourself?
My short term goal is continuing this season with the same spirit and attitude, also to impress more and more people with my performances. My long term goal is becoming a player in the national team and playing in the English Premier League, specifically Arsenal.
Which Egyptian players are you in contact with?
Of course I’m in contact with Adham Torky, who was unfortunate not to continue in the team [Gil Vicente], yet he is a childhood friend. Also Ehab Rayan, Youssef ‘Obama’ and Shika [Mostafa Fathi]. Rayan used to play with me in our childhood club, Shooting Club. Obama and Shika played against us. Now they’re all with me in the U-20 national team.
I am also in contact with Hesham Hammouda who used to play for Arab Contractors; a very good friend of mine.
What do you see for the future of young Egyptians aspiring to play football in Europe, any advice?
My advice would be work hard as much as you can. Football isn’t an easy game especially in Europe.
KingFut.com would like to thank Amr Mokhtar for his time and wishes him the best with the remainder of his season.