The rise and fall of Alexandria giants Smouha SC
Smouha SC is one of the most successful Egyptian Premier League sides this season, as well as the previous three years, but how did they become so successful and how did they become such a threat to Egyptian giants, Al Ahly SC and Zamalek SC?
Smouha SC was founded in 1950 as a social club with no sports activities whatsoever, until the 60s. Smouha club first started football practice in the 60s for only youth teams. Smouha’s youth system was very successful as they’ve graduated the likes of Ali Bassiouny and Abdel Badei Hemeida who went on to Join Ittihad of Alexandria’s first team, as well as, Olympics team goalkeeper, Ali El Nagar. Smouha started their first team in the 80s and were successfully promoted to the second division in 1996. One year later, Farag Amer became president of the club and turned it into a sporting club.
Smouha remained in the second division until 2008/2009 when they showed real determination on qualifying to the Premier League but their determination wasn’t enough as they came second in the second division’s Bahary group. Mansour were top of the group with 9 points ahead of Smouha and were the ones who got promoted. That wasn’t enough to get Smouha down as they got promoted the following season under Mimi Abdel Razek’s management.
In their first ever Premier League campaign, Smouha finished 15th and should have been relegated but they remained due to the country’s instability. Their 2011/2012 season came to a halt as it was 19 teams and it got cancelled anyway because of the same reasons. Against all odds, Smouha capitalized on the suspension of football in the country and improved drastically.
In the 2012/2013 season, Smouha put on a great performance throughout finishing 3rd in their group, just missing out on the league playoffs which were cancelled after the 30th of June. The following season, they finished second in their group, making it to the playoffs, where the came second as well to qualify to the CAF Champions Leauge for the first time which meant Smouha’s first ever African participation. Their impressive performance wasn’t only in the league as they came runners up to Zamalek in Egypt Cup.
Smouha’s performance significantly fell in the 2013/2014 season as they were knocked out of Champions League the group stages and finished 10th in the Premier League. They did manage to make it to the Cup’s semi-final. The Blues rebounded the following season to finish third in the league and qualify to their first ever Confederations Cup.
Farag Amer realized that winning the League wasn’t a dream anymore and that it’s very achievable so he broke the bank to strengthen his side. Smouha bought and loaned a number of players like Mohamed Shaheen, Ahmed Raouf, Sayed Farid, Salah Soliman and Banou Diawara. Theses signings were successful as Smouha kicked off the 2016/2017 season with 4 straight league wins before falling to Al Masry in the fifth week.
It is worth mentioning that Smouha’s best ever signing was ex-Dakhleya striker Hossam Salama (Paolo), who was top scorer of the league during his time with Dakhleya as well as with his first season with Smouha.
Smouha has shown that they have what it takes to win the league, so can they clinch the title in the coming years? They take on Zamalek tonight in a true test of their title credentials.
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