Alexander Jakobsen: the exclusive story of a Scandinavian Pharaoh
The dilemma of an Afro-European player and what made up the mind of Alexander Jakobsen settle on what country to represent.
Every player has his own story, Sami Khedira chose to represent Germany although he grew up in a family that symbolized handball in Tunisia, Senegal’s youth sectors failed to recognize the talent of Patrick Viera while Kevin Prince Boateng felt more Ghanaian after injuring the Mannschaft’s most loved Michael Ballack prior to the World Cup.
KingFut’s Ramez Nathan sat down with a player who grew in the youth ranks of Denmark, was considered one of the most talented in the nation yet opted to represent Egypt’s national team on his very first call up.
“For me it’s an honour to play for my country, I’m proud to represent an amazing country like Egypt whenever I get the chance to play.”
Born in Hvidovre, Denmark to a former Egypt national team player Adel Ahmed and a Danish mom, he grew up with a torn identity of two names.
“When I was younger I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and since I grew up in Denmark everything went easier under a Danish name. It’s tough but that’s the ugly truth, if your name is Amir Adel “Zatuna” it wasn’t going to be as easy to get a job as if I was Alexander Jakobsen.”
As a little child Jakobsen looked up to a footballing father figure, who was eager to have a son walk in his footsteps. He never let him miss a single training session, driving him to every football practice, believing his son could exceed what he personally achieved.
“Since I was four years old, he stood there in the rain and in the snow watching me train. He was the example of tough love, doing everything he can to sharpen my focus and make me a better footballer. He was very serious about it and for that I cannot find words to describe how much I admire this man.”
Jakobsen never found a comfort zone to rest his head on, he played at the youth academy of F.C. Copenhagen where people began to recognize the name of a young kid who was dabbed to become the next Ronaldinho for his bags and bags of tricks and later moved to Lyngby’s academy.
Afterwards, he moved to one of the best football academies in Europe as he joined PSV and in a couple of years became part of their first team.
At the same time, he represented Egypt’s U20 team, winning the African championship. However, upon his return to PSV the tables turned in a bizarre manner as uncertainty grew over his future with his lack of playing time.
“Pressure comes because people know you have qualities and that’s just a good thing,”
“I always believed in myself even when I had to go through very dark times and if you believe in God sooner or later you’re going to catch a break. Pressure is not a negative thing, I’m a person who looks on every single detail and works really hard to get better and not only in football. I expect a lot from myself, and more than what anybody else expects.”
Jakobsen took his unusual career path training alone for a year before he started playing for a number of Scandinavian sides in three different leagues, yet still didn’t fulfil his potential with any of them.
“I started of playing street football so my style has mainly been creating chances and providing more attacking quality for my team, I love to have the ball and to dribble, that’s just the type of player I am. But through my time in Scandinavia I have played for teams that did not hold a lot of possession, my former clubs were more defensive and did not have the ball most of the game.”
“That taught me to defend and make hard runs back to help my team, all this made me a better player, now I am the kind of player that tackles the opponents and knows how to build up the attack from the back.”
Egypt’s boss Hector Cuper recognized the talent of 23 year-old and called him for a game against Togo, where Jakobsen outshined offering the fans a memorable performance. Remembering that time the attacking midfielder smiled as he was out of words saying: “It was a special feeling to be selected by Cuper.”
Following his call up, some wishbone must have been cracked in the pharaoh’s favour as Jakobsen moved to one of Sweden’s finest clubs Norrkoping.
With his new side the pharaoh stepped into the breach with his delightful dancing feet, claiming player of the year for Norrkoping in the span of only four months.
“I was unlucky as the club were knocked out of the Europa league just one day before I signed for them, but I believe this was the right step for my career to move to a top team in Allsvenskan, I am trying to show the world what player I am and Norrkoping are offering me the perfect platform to do that. We have an amazing coach here and this is a club that wants to play football building the attack by the defenders all the way up.”
“Playing for only four months and receiving player of the year award is a huge privilege for me, the love of the supporters here makes me feel great and motivates me to keep working hard to give them the best I have got on the pitch.”
According to WhoScored, Jakobsen holds a record of 1.9 dribbles per game better than any of his teammates. As the Egyptian dazzled the audiences especially in his last month we were curious to know if the rumours of him leaving for one of the top European leagues was true.
“It makes me proud to hear of this interest but right now my main focus is on Norrkoping, they have served me a great deal and I will do everything I can to pay them back.”
With the pharaoh not far from a bigger move, it’s tempting to think he’s desperate to get back to Egypt’s national team, however
“We have a good squad, great coaching staff with a lot of quality players, I’m sure Egypt is going to do good in the coming years and If I could be a part of that it would be a dream come true for me. However right now I am focusing on playing good and working hard every day to improve my game and in the future we’ll see how it goes.”
“I hope the best for my country and for the players. Playing or not I will always support them.”
Home is where the heart belongs they say, and in the heart of Jakobsen, a consuming fire, filled with love for his country and zeal to fulfil his calling as a footballer.
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