The 2016 KingFut Awards
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With another year drawing to a close, the KingFut team brings you their top performers over the past calendar year. Who came out on top in 2016?
2016 was an interesting year in Egyptian football, as Al Ahly pipped Zamalek to the Egyptian Premier League title, before losing to the Whites in a hotly contested Egypt Cup final.
Zamalek also reached the final of the CAF Champions League – for the first time since 2002 – where they lost to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
In other sport-related news, three Egyptians clinched medals at the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the Egyptian Paralympians shone once again.
Scroll through the following tabs to see who we thought came out on top in each category over the past twelve months…[/tab][tab id=2]
KingFut’s Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah
Club: AS Roma (Italy)
Egypt icon Mohamed Salah enjoyed another stellar year, as he continues to stake his claim to be considered as one of the greatest Egyptian footballers in history. After being named Roma’s player of the 2015/16 season by club fans, Salah played a starring role in Egypt’s qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon- Egypt’s first appearance since 2010.
The 23-year-old then proceeded to score his first-ever treble in club football in early November, before scoring and assisting in Egypt’s crucial 2-0 victory over rivals Ghana in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying just a week later. A clumsy challenge from teammate Thomas Vermaelen in training sidelined Salah for about two weeks in December, but the attacker managed to secure minutes in the latter half of the month, ahead of Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign which begins in January.
It remains to be seen whether Salah can maintain his meteoric rise for much longer, but Egyptian fans around the globe will surely be hoping for an even better version of the hugely popular winger in 2018.[/tab][tab id=3]
KingFut’s Local-based Player of the Year: Abdallah El-Said
Club: Al Ahly
Position: Attacking midfielder
In a year where only a handful of local-based players caught the eye on the field, Abdallah El-Said maintained a healthy goals and assists average throughout 2016, as he led Al Ahly to the 2015/16 Egyptian Premier League title and the cup final, where they lost to bitter rivals Zamalek.
El-Said is now arguably entering the twilight of his career, but his vision and creativity when in possession of the ball will surely supply us with many memorable moments in the coming years.[/tab][tab id=4]
KingFut’s Manager of the Year: Ehab Galal
Club: Misr El-Maqassa
Record in 2016 (W/D/L): 24/10/15
With a win percentage of 49% in 2016, Ehab Galal ensured his place in Misr El-Maqassa legend, as he led the club to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in its history. Moreover, just two losses and one draw so far in 2016/17 have seen Galal’s side build on their strong performances in the previous campaign.
The Fayoum-based side even managed to put together an eight-match winning streak in the league, as they push favorites Al Ahly. Will Galal help Maqassa maintain their challenge over the second half of the season, against their more experienced and and better-equipped opponents? Only time will tell.[/tab][tab id=5]
KingFut’s Club of the Year: Al Ahly SC
Despite not monopolising the silverware available in 2016, Al Ahly make the list ahead of cup champions Zamalek and over-achieving Misr El-Maqassa due to their superior record over the past 12 months, which led them to the 2015/16 Egyptian Premier League title, as well as a significant cushion over bitter rivals Zamalek in the first half of the current league campaign.
Seeing as the Red Devils are once again overwhelming favorites for the league title, the truly interesting aspect of 2017 is whether Al Ahly can restore their former glories in Africa, after a number of poor showings in recent years.[/tab][tab id=6]
KingFut’s Extra Time Athlete of the Year: Egyptian Paralympics Delegation
2016 was a great year for Egyptians across a number of sports- Sara Ahmed became the first Egyptian female Olympian to win a medal in a summer Olympic Games, and Hedaya Malak added her name to the short but growing list shortly afterwards. The Pharaohs dominated the squash scene once again, and the Egypt futsal team reached the quater-finals of the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia.
While all of the achievements mentioned above were undoubtedly impressive, KingFut’s Extra Time Award in 2016 goes to the entire Egypt Paralympics Delegation. 44 Paralympians traveled to Rio to represent Egypt on the grandest stage, and were rewarded with 12 medals, three of which were gold.
Disabled athletes in Egypt continue to shine against the odds, despite poor or nonexistent facilities in Egypt and a general lack of support- one can only hope that the success of these heroes inspires officials to overhaul the current system, and to provide a platform for our athletes to truly excel.
Do you agree with our picks? Are there any alternatives that you would have chosen instead? Let us know in the comments below. Last but not least, from all of us at KingFut, have a Happy New Year!
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