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OPINION: Why Omar Gaber and Basel are a perfect match
Five months after joining FC Basel, I look back at why Basel is best place for Omar Gaber to start his career in Europe.
Omar Gaber left Zamalek, where he had been for 19 years, to start his career abroad with Swiss giants FC Basel. The team is no stranger to any Egyptian, as Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Elneny, and Ahmed Hamoudi spent time at the club.
Looking beyond that, some of the biggest names have come through FC Basel, including brothers Taulant and Granit Xhaka, Ivan Rakitic, and young striker Breel Embolo. In addition, FC Basel have been league champions every season since the 2009-2010 one. They have become the Swiss giants winning the league, often with weeks to spare.
One of the biggest benefits of being at Basel is that they are usually playing in either the Champions League or the Europa League. This gives an opportunity for the players to get experience playing against the European giants.
A club built on success like Basel will always be a great place to learn how playing in Europe works, especially for players who are coming from abroad. In Arsenal’s interview with Elneny before the Champions League clash, he credited Basel for helping his development both on and off the field.
However, Elneny didn’t start his career at Basel by being a regular starter. He went from sitting on the bench, to being regularly substituted, to playing some games, to playing every game over the span of the 3 years he was there. As a result, a team like Arsenal who were scouting him for a while were able to see this development.
Omar Gaber is a little bit different than Elneny. First, he’s a defender not a midfielder. Second, Gaber played for the Zamalek, a team with millions of fans, while Elneny came from Arab Contractors, a team without a lot of fans. As a result, Gaber’s experience will naturally be different than that of Elneny’s.
Moreover, his coach trusts his talents playing him as both a right back and left back. He has also already assisted his first goal after coming on as a substitute against Grasshopper. With all the competitions the club are playing in, Gaber will find plenty of playing time.