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Egypt’s Rising Stars: Salma Hesham the next ‘Minister of Defense’

Photo: Shady Magdy

One of the brightest up-and-coming defenders in women’s football in Egypt is ’s . KingFut’s Evrosina Isaac had the opportunity to speak with the Egypt international defender about her journey, role models, and dreams.

Salma began playing football when she was four years old. Similar to many other female footballers in Egypt, she used to play in the streets of Shoubra with her parents and friends, before training and competing at the professional level.

She first started playing in an organised club when she played for an academy a year later. The 18-year-old defender played for Wadi Degla, who in May won their tenth consecutive league title, for nine years until the end of the 2016/17 season. While there, Salma won nine titles with the youth and senior teams. She then moved to her current club El Tayaran where they finished in second place behind Wadi Degla on goal difference.

At the end of the 2016/17 season with Degla, however, the defender suffered an ACL tear. But instead of despair, Salma found motivation from the experience.

“I am patient and have the will and determination. I consider the injury to be motivation,” Salma said of recovering from her season ending injury. However, the injury would not be her last obstacle. While recovering, Wadi Degla controversially let her go.

Salma’s ‘will and determination’ led her to another of Egypt’s best women football teams, El Tayaran. “El Tayaran and Wadi Degla are the best for players in Egypt for the women’s teams,” said the 18-year-old on her recent move.

“I had a good season with my colleagues who welcomed me. We are not just teammates, we are sisters,” Salma added.

Photo: Shady Magdy

As Salma looks to start her second season with her new team, she has also set for herself two goals with club and country.

“My goal with the club is to win more titles. With the national team, my goal is to reach the women’s World Cup since we never reached the tournament,” she reflected.

Salma was a part of the Egypt U-17 squad that made it to the second round of the 2017 World Cup qualifications after beating Djibouti 9-0. However, the team was overpowered by Cameroon in the final round and failed to make it to the World Cup.

As Salma became older and gained experience many around her began to nickname her ‘Minister of Defense’ for her aerial duels and dominance in defense. Understandably, her role model is also known for his defensive prowess.

“My role model on the field is Ahmed Hegazi, the former Al Ahly, current West Bromwich and Egyptian national team player. Off the field, my role models are my mother and father.”

“They [family and friends] feel proud of me, support me, and encourage me; they give me positive energy.”

Even though those closest to her support and encourage her, Salma still thinks that the general public in Egypt aren’t even aware that there is a women’s league. Thus, there is not much support for them.

“Because of the media, few know there is a women’s league in Egypt. There is no attention to us unlike to the men’s league,” she emphasised.

Despite the regular season being over for two months now, the second division promotion play-offs format has yet to be set by the EFA. Moreover, the draw for the Women’s league has not been conducted and players, clubs, and coaches are not aware of when the league will kick-off.

KingFut would like to thank Salma Hesham for her time and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.

In addition to being a football/soccer and basketball enthusiast, I am currently pursuing a combined BS/MD degree at VCU. I also currently work as a Pharmacy Technician in my spare time.

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