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KF TOTS: The 2014/15 Egyptian Premier League Team of the Season
One of the toughest decisions this season for KingFut has been the selection of the 2014-15 Egyptian Premier League Team of the Season. With so many standout performers over the course of the season, from both the big teams and the small, a total of six Egyptian football experts at KingFut.com sat down to cast their votes and assemble a squad, after examining and handpicking each player.
Mohamed Osama, one of the six experts, will now justify every pick made for your enjoyment.
KingFut’s Team of the Season
Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek)
The 189 cm goalkeeper has shown why he deserves a chance in a top European league next season, and has claimed to have already received an offer from the English Premier League. If not for Shennawy’s heroics, the White Knights would not be Egyptian Premier League champions for the first time in 11 years, while still contending for the CAF Confederations Cup title and the Egyptian Cup.
The 24-year-old keeper is known for his well-built physical attributes and flexibility, helping in every catch, leap and dive. Ahmed also has quick reflexes, stopping seemingly impossible shots and headers from close range and even changing his body orientation swiftly to save deflections.
STAT: Shennawy kept the most clean sheets among the league’s keepers this season: 16.
Ali Gabr and Mohamed Koffi (Both Zamalek)
The league’s best defensive duo this season are without a doubt Zamalek’s: Gabr and Koffi. Ali Gabr has the most clean sheets in the league this season among all players, with an incredible 18 shut outs. The 28-year-old often has the ability to foresee his opponents’ next move and react accordingly before the forward possess the ball.
Koffi is the kind of player every manager wishes to have; adding incredible versatility to the squad as he can play as a centre-back, full-back and defensive midfielder. One attribute that really shown through other than his physicality was his passion. Mohamed Koffi is the kind of player who would risk everything he has for the club he represents, and in football, sometimes heart is more important than skill.
STAT: Zamalek conceded the fewest goals in the 2014/15 Egyptian Premier League season with just 21 from 38 matches.
Omar Gaber (Zamalek)
Although Omar Gaber was suspended for part of the season and reported to be on the verge of having his contract terminated after the Air Defence Stadium disaster, the versatile Egypt international earned a spot in KingFut’s TOTS. Despite there not being much competition from other Egyptian clubs for the right-back position this season, it was tricky to decide who deserved the slot in our XI the most, with his teammate Hazem Emam and ENPPI right-back Osama Ibrahim deserving mentions.
The 23-year-old is very flexible player, playing as a full back mostly and as a box-to-box defensive midfielder at times. The academy product is swift, a good finisher in one-on-one situations and sharp angles too.
STAT: Omar Gaber recorded a career high of four goals as well as four assists in the league this season.
Mohamed Adel Gomaa (Al Masry)
If I am to describe Gomaa briefly I would say: Mohamed Abdel-Shafy in disguise. Gomaa’s diversity is what really put’s him ahead of the other full backs in the league this season. Once Gomaa possesses the ball in the final third, there is no telling what he will do next; whether it’s sending in an accurate cross, cutting inside and attempting a shot on goal or just going for a short pass across the pitch.
The 22-year-old recently earned himself a move to Cairo giants Zamalek, one that will force the player to improve even further having to compete for a starting spot with Sherif Alaa and Ahmed Samir.
STAT: Gomaa started in 24 of Al Masry’s 38 games this season, having only played for a combined 23 minutes in their two previous campaigns.
Ibrahim Salah (Zamalek)
Some players reach their peak when they are 24, others at 26; it’s usually unusual for a player to bloom past those milestones. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Ibrahim Salah, one of Zamalek’s few ‘veterans’ has been a cornerstone in the Whites’ titling winning campaign this season. Salah’s tactical intelligence and understanding of the game continuously helped his fellow midfielders advance forward while feeling comfortable to neglect their defensive duties, knowing Salah has their backs.
Another trait of Ibrahim that really shined this year was his tackling, with the Egyptian international making winning the ball look so easy at times.
STAT: Only four players completed 2000 passes or more in the league this season; however, Salah has the most accurate among all four with an incredible 91% accuracy. (via KoraStats)
Momen Zakaria (Al Ahly)
This season’s most controversial player, Momen Zakaria. During the first half of the season, Zakaria’s performances with Zamalek attracted interest from multiple clubs which resulted in him ending up at arch-rivals Al Ahly.
The attacking midfielder has been a crucial part of both Cairo giants’ league campaigns, scoring the exact same number of goals for each side: seven – including a memorable derby brace for Al Ahly against his old side Zamalek. Momen’s curling shots are one of the league’s most accurate; once he is on the edge of the box, supporters are quickly on the edge their seats ready to celebrate. The 27-year-old is not short on assists either, creating a total of six goals during the 2014/2015 league campaign.
STAT: Momen Zakaria was the highest scoring midfielder this season with 14 goals; 4th overall in the goal scoring charts.
Ayman Hefny (Zamalek)
Magical. The one word that should cross your mind when you think of Hefny on a football pitch with the ball at his feet this season. Ayman only scored 4 goals this season since joining from Tala’a El-Gaish last summer, but created 12. The 29-year-old’s most valuable asset is his creativity, making his next move unpredictable; confusing defenders with ease and being able to create goals as well as score them.
STAT: Ayman Hefny was just 2 assists away from the player with the most this season, ENPPI’s Salah Ashour.
Stanley Ohawuchi (Wadi Degla)
The 24-year-old Nigerian striker’s physical status is incredible. He is well built and can out muscle almost any defender. Stanley Ohawuchi is what you call a complete forward. His finishing is clinical, his shots are powerful, he uses both feet and he is incredibly swift and well balanced. The former Bayelsa United forward scored 16 goals and created 8 for Wadi Degla on his debut season, helping them seal a club record fifth-place finish with 57 points.
STAT: Stanley directly contributed to over half of Wadi Degla’s league goals scored this season – 24 of 46.
Hossam Salama ‘Paulo’ (Dakhleya)
Hossam Salama ‘Paulo’ is KingFut’s target man this season. He has a knack of fooling his markers and opponents’ defenders. Deliver the ball to Paulo inside the box, and he will know how to make it end up at the back of the net. Talking about late bloomers, the 28-year-old striker’s strength also played an important role in his 20 goals this season (quite an improvement on his 3 goals in the previous season), helping him shield the ball from tackling defenders or just simply over powering them during a short sprint. Dakhleya finished the season in 13th place, just three points above relegation. They surely have Paulo’s goals to thank for survival. His goals also earned himself a move to Smouha SC this summer.
STAT: Hossam Salama is the first player to hit the 20-goal mark in Egypt since Zamalek’s legendary striker Abdel Halim Ali during the 2003/04 season.
Bassem Morsi (Zamalek)
Zamalek finally found themselves their long-lost striker in Bassem Morsi. Morsi’s work rate is incredible, the player is always pressuring defenders during the game’s 90 minutes, which also highlights his great physical attributes and fitness. The 24-year-old dribbling skills is one of the many qualities that puts him ahead of other strikers in the league. Morsi’s shooting and finishing have both been on point during his debut season with the White Knights, helping him score 18 goals this season.
STAT: Bassem was just two goals away from Paulo’s 20 despite being unused or having to come off the bench for late cameo appearances during the first eight gameweeks of the season.
Salah Ashour (ENPPI)
ENPPI’s Player of the Season is the lone forward on our bench, Salah Ashour. Ashour was deployed in a shadow-striker role this season, giving him the opportunity to continuously supply his teammates with countless scoring chances – and he surely delivered for Tarek El-Ashry’s men. Ashour created 14 goals this season, the most in the league along with Dakhleya’s Ahmed Temsah. The 27-year-old can also lead his team’s forward line individually, his positioning is impressive as well as his shooting and heading accuracy.
Ramadan Sobhy (Al Ahly)
Most of Ramadan’s appearances came off the bench when the Red Devils needed a crucial goal to secure the three points. Sobhy is an extremely exciting player, a playmaker that has an eye for goal and flair at just the tender age of 18. He has the capability of solving problems when no other solutions seem available. The youngster also has an amazing desire to win, which is a trait any top player should have. It is no wonder top clubs around Europe have already expressed interest in the young Egypt international, with Al Ahly’s football director Alaa Abdel-Sadek previously claiming to have received an offer from AS Roma.
Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ (Al Ahly)
Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ is considered to be one of Al Ahly’s most dynamic players. Mahmoud was raised as a striker, which helped to shape up his attacking instincts, developing his surging runs going forward, fueled with energy and great ball control. The Egyptian international’s skills and shooting ability have been valuable assets for Al Ahly recently, scoring five goals this season. However, Trezeguet’s most valuable ability is his vision and tactical awareness. The attacking midfielder is known for his inch-perfect through balls, crosses and creative passes. The Anderlecht target just narrowly missed out on our starting eleven.
Osama Ibrahim (ENPPI)
A right-back fit enough to play the entire game while contributing equally to defense and attack, the 22-year-old also has a thunderous shot, resulting in three stunning goals for his side ENPPI this season. One skill that puts Osama ahead of most, if not all of the league’s right backs, is his ability to cross the ball while sprinting at full speed.
Essam El-Hadary (Ismaily)
El-Hadary is just a biological miracle. At 42, Essam has kept 15 cleans sheets this season, just one less than the most kept by a goalkeeper this season. El-Hadary is still as sharp as ever, and charismatic as he has always been.
The experienced keeper made countless stunning saves this season, earning himself a move back to his ex-employers Wadi Degla; which means we will enjoy watching the Egyptian legend doing what he does best for a minimum of two more seasons.