Interview | Meet Karim Sallam: An Egyptian-Austrian footballer who couldn’t find success in Egypt
KingFut interviews Austrian-born and FC Mauerwerk playmaker Karim Sallam as we discuss his football career start, a short stint with Assiouty Sport, later rebranded as Pyramids FC, and aspirations to play for the Egyptian national team.
Despite playing for a number of Austrian football clubs and moving to Egypt in early 2017 to play for Assiouty Sport, Karim Sallam is still considered out of sight compared to other Egyptians playing abroad.
Playing in Austria may not help an Egyptian player get the needed attention unlike his counterparts in the English Premier League like Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Elneny and Ramadan Sobhi, thus we will introduce a hidden talent and a possible rising star to all readers interested in Egyptian players.
After a small unsuccessful stint in Egypt, the 25-year-old player returned to Austria and was able to join FC Mauerwerk, owned by Egyptian businessman Mostafa El-Nemr, who showed interest before in signing retired veteran striker Emad Meteb and managed to acquire the services of Entag El-Harby defender Fady Nagah.
We interviewed Sallam to inquire about his past football experiences in Egypt and Austria in addition his current goals with Mauerwerk.
Abdelrahman Amr: We understand that you were born and raised in Vienna, Austria, is that correct?
Karim Sallam: That’s correct. Born to an Egyptian father and an Austrian mother.
AA: When did you first started playing football and how did it all start?
KS: I started my career at SK Rapid Vienna, this where I first played football when I was just five years old. I have been mostly playing as a playmaker or a winger. I played for a number of clubs in Austria including Rapid Vienna, FC Flyeralarm Admira, Wiener Sport-Club Jugend, SV Schwechat and now I play for FC Mauerwerk. I also played for Assiouty Sport.
AA: How did you get to know about Mauerwerk and when did you join them?
KS: I got to know the club’s President, Mostafa El-Nemr, personally long time ago. Before I went to Assiouty he told me about his project and his plans for the club and then he asked me to play for Mauerwerk, so I joined the team back in January 2018.
AA: Unfortunately, despite your good start, you were not able to continue playing with Assiouty after the team promoted to the Premier League. What was the reason behind this?
KS: I played with Assiouty when they were in the second division. For the first six months, I played for the team when it was led by coach Ayman Almizain. I had a very good start actually and I scored three goals with the team in my first three games. I played all our matches in this season until we were crowned second division champions and promoted to the Egyptian Premier League. Afterward, coach Ali Maher took over the team and he did not like my playing style and I was ruled out of the squad. So I packed my bags and went back to Austria.
AA: What are your goals with Mauerwerk now and what do you aim to achieve on a personal level?
KS: First, I want to help Mauerwerk get promoted and reach the Austrian Football Second League by scoring and assisting goals. Personally, I hope that one day I will be able to play for the Egyptian national team.
AA: What’s an unforgettable moment in your football career so far?
KS: Scoring a hat-trick against Rapid Vienna when we met them as they’re a team I used to play for.
AA: Who is your football hero and why?
KS: I always loved Ronaldinho because of his dribbling tempo and how smart he was when controlling the ball. I am also a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo’s discipline.
KingFut would like to thank Karim Sallam for his time. We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.
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