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OPINION: Hossam Ghaly’s presence is a necessity despite Egypt’s fine form

Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images


Despite the Pharaohs’ fine form and recent results, the presence of Al Ahly captain , who is capable of leading and commanding the team, might be necessary.

REPORT: Egypt beat Ghana to go top of World Cup qualifying group

Hossam Ghaly’s bust up with Osama Nabih played a huge role in ousting the Egyptian midfielder from the squad, but unfortunately is in need for a creative leader on the pitch to drive the team forward with his instructions and game of play.

Hossam Ghaly’s experience in the midfield area is crucial for the national team, as the player’s creative passing and the way he operates the game could boost Egypt’s midfield despite the team’s positive results.

Many fans, tacticians and pundits were frustrated with Egypt’s defensive approach despite the win, as they think that the quality of the players at Cuper’s disposal could offer more offensively and in regards to controlling games.

OPINION | Héctor Cúper still the right man for Egypt job

Mohamed Elneny and Tarek Hamed’s partnership in Egypt’s midfield is way too conservative. Both players’ defensive mindset influences their performances; Elneny and Hamed are very good midfielders when it comes to winning the ball and closing down the opponents. However, when it comes to creating chances and providing an attacking flexibility, they are hardly the answer. It’s clear there is a lack of creativity in midfield with neither capable of sending line-breaking passes.

When a side plays too many direct passes, then you must expect them to lose the ball quickly; this encourages the opponent to start pressing high up, putting more pressure on the players who have the ball. This is why Egypt had difficulties trying to outclass Ghana’s midfield on Sunday, when the Pharaohs prevailed thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Abdallah El-Said.

Hossam Ghaly’s experience in such a position with his great passing game could turn things around for Egypt in terms of controlling and dominating matches. The Al Ahly midfielder always looks to provide a forward play and key passes in order to serve his team’s attacking line. Although Ghaly has his ups and downs in terms of performance, his inclusion in the Egypt squad would allow the team become less predictable to opponents and provide more alternatives for the Argentine manager.

If a team is playing at home against a tough opponent, you can’t afford losing the ball a lot in your midfield, or allowing spaces for players to pressure you in your own half, as mistakes will occur sooner or later. It happened against Ghana, as Mohamed Elneny lost the ball in Egypt’s half due to pressure, but he quickly resolved this problem by making a smart foul to stop the play.

Ultimately, having someone with a prevailing defensive mentality like Tarek Hamed or Mohamed Elneny requires the existence of someone like Ghaly alongside either of them. The 34-year-old midfielder would be useful in delivering passes to final third and push the team forward which helps with exerting pressure on opponents in their own half and minimizing their danger.



  1. Maz

    November 16, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    I disagree. Ghaly has shown to be a liability when playing the holding midfield role. He’s much too slow and loses the ball quickly under pressure. The reason Elneny and Hamed have been so conservative, imo, is Cupers tactics to close down the central areas of attack. We barely saw Ghana produce anything from the middle because of that partnership. Where we need a creative player is in Elsaed’s position. He’s definitely an engine, but not too creative. I’m very happy with his performance, but we need a creative player to be his replacement when facing smaller more defensive minded teams. I think Saleh Gomaa and Mohamed Ibrahim, when they return to form, could be suitable options.


    November 17, 2016 at 2:04 AM

    I agree with Maz. Ghaly has been a fantastic servent for our national team but we need to focus on our future. I’m an Egyptian living in London and I watch El Nenny play every week for arsenal. He is a fanstastic player with great defensive qualities it seems to me he has been instructed to play conservatively. We need to agree that our team doesn’t have the ability to control games against big teams anymore. We have been trying to control games since 1990 and we have not qualified for a World Cup since. Our game now is based on counter attacking football. We tried to “control” the game against Ghana in Kumasi 2 years ago and we were destroyed 5-1. Let’s get behind the current group of players and maybe just maybe our dream of reaching the World Cup will come true. Ya rab!

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