Interview | Omar Elhussieny, the Journeyman who ended up at India’s biggest club
As he successfully joined Indian giants and one of the oldest clubs in Asia Mohun Bagan, we got the chance to talk with Egyptian midfielder Omar Elhussieny to learn more about his new move, past football experiences in and outside Egypt, his thoughts regarding the Egyptian national team and first impressions about the Indian Super League.
Despite being unnoted during the past years by Egyptian clubs, national teams, and media, Omar Elhussieny has been performing well in Estonia, Indonesia, Malta and he’s now starting a new adventure in India.
After leaving Egypt, the 33-year-old player peaked during his first stint in Estonia with FCI Levadia where he stayed there for two years, featuring for the club in the UEFA Champions League, and winning multiple trophies, including the Estonian league and the A. Le Coq Premium Liiga in 2014, in addition to the Estonian Cup in the same year and the Estonian Super Cup in 2015.
During this interview, we get to know more about Omar Elhussieny’s football career and his future ambitions.
Abdelrahman Amr: Firstly, congratulations on your new move to Mohun Bagan. India is not a popular destination for Egyptian players, so tell us how were you introduced to the club?
Omar Elhussieny: I was introduced to the club through an Indian agency. They contacted me and told me that Mohun Bagan are interested in acquiring my services and signing me, then everything took off pretty quickly from there and now I’m in India.
AA: Glad it all went smoothly. Let’s go back to how it all started. At what age did you begin playing football and what got you into taking the sport to a professional level?
OH: Football for me started at a very early age when I was nine. There wasn’t a point in which I decided to take it professionally as I have always seen myself as a professional footballer. Every bit of the game gets me, on and off the field.
AA: We understand that you first left Egypt in late 2013 to play for Levadia, where you had an impressive stint. Tell us how did you get the chance to move to Estonia, who inspired you to play there?
OH: Yes, I left Egypt in late 2013 following the revolution and the Portsaid massacre as football was never the same afterward. All clubs in Egypt were unstable and they started letting players go. Plus, the stands were always empty as fans were not allowed to attend games. We never knew if we will play the next match or not since the league could have been indefinitely suspended any moment during that time. With all this happening and as a 28-year-old player, Estonia seemed to be a good place for me to go to.
After Levadia I had a short spell in Indonesia playing for Persela Lamongan, but things there didn’t look as good as I wished so I chose to go back to Estonia through Paide Linnameeskond this time. Afterward, I went to play for Malta’s Zejtun Corinthians FC in early 2018 and stayed there for half a season. It was a good experience and everything was planned for a contract extension, but club officials were lagging on the needed work and procedures, then I received the Indian offer and decided to go with it.
AA: It’s an exciting adventure for sure. What are the goals you will try to achieve with your team?
OH: I want to win everything with this tremendous club and I think we are capable of doing so.
AA: What is the most memorable achievement in your football career so far?
OH: If I have to choose a memorable event it would be my first UEFA Champions League appearance with Levadia. It’s memorable because it came after an injury and I managed to score a goal only ten minutes after I featured.
AA: Are you hoping to be noticed by the national team staff and possibly get a call-up while playing with your new club?
OH: When it comes to joining the national team, I would say that this is something I will always be fighting for. This is normal for me, that’s how it’s always like with my football career so I’ll never lose hope.
AA: Who is your football hero or idol?
OH: I look up to many players like Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, Juan Roman Riquelme and Xavi Hernández to mention a few.
AA: You experienced playing in Egypt and playing abroad in different countries. If you could sum up the differences you’ve noticed during your football career, what would be the main points?
OH: It’s simply about the commitment level and dedication, mostly from officials before players.
AA: Do you follow Egyptian football clubs?
OH: I do follow the Egyptian league, but being in India it’s a bit difficult to follow matches because of the time zone difference.
AA: If you were to receive an offer from an Egyptian Premier League side, would you be interested in playing in Egypt?
OH: Yeah, why not. After all, football is my profession. If a receive an offer that suits me, I’ll go for it.
AA: Anything you want to add for Egyptians who may have not heard of Omar Elhussieny before?
OH: I’m just an ordinary guy who was able to overcome a few obstacles just like everyone else. I hope young boys facing difficulties in achieving their dream can be inspired by my quest.