With a left-wing shell that hugged Sudan’s net and a cunning bite that inhabited the Jordanian goal, the Egyptian Ahmed raised the admiration of the fans of his country, which is full of stars Al-Ahly and Zamalek, during the Arab Football Cup in which the “Pharaohs” participate in the absence of his professionals in Europe and reached the semi-finals, where he meets Tunisia Wednesday in Doha.
Basically, the 28-year-old winger Refaat is no stranger to the two poles of Egyptian football, as he started his journey at the age of nine years with Al-Ahly. He resorted to him after he failed in the tests of Zamalek! But with Al-Ahly, “I learned the basics of football on the field and discipline outside it.”
Because his entire family belonged to the Zamalek club, Ahmed cried, when he was rejected in Mit Oqba, so he turned his destination directly to the traditional rival.
He graduated through his ranks before going on to a long and rich experience with the Enppi Club. Rifaat played his first official match with the first team at the age of 16 and a half years. He also wore the national team shirt for the first time in a friendly match against Uganda in 2013. The obsession of returning to Zamalek kept chasing him until he found what he was looking for in 2016, but his career was not stable technically, so he was loaned frustrated to Al-Ittihad of Alexandria before moving to Al-Masry Al-Portsaidi, where he rediscovered himself again and from there to Future at the beginning of the current season.
Like many Arab players, the tournament in Doha may open a window to translate Rifaat’s dream of professionalism in Europe, after his star shined, capturing the attention of critics and followers. Hazem Emam, the former Egyptian football star and current analyst, called on the Portuguese coach, Carlos Queiroz, to give Refaat the opportunity to play as a main player, after he proved his worth in the tournament.
Ahmed seems open to offers that may open the doors to his professionalism: “It is normal if you get offers. Every player wishes to move to a better level, then the club can study it, the decision is not up to me, but the club.” Rifaat, who starred as a young man with the 2013 African Cup winner at the expense of Ghana, seems convinced of the talent of his countrymen, “Our talents are much stronger than anywhere else.”
This impression did not come from a vacuum, but was formed through the experience of living with the Swiss club Basel during the period that preceded the participation of the Egyptian national team in the World Youth Cup in Turkey in the summer of 2013. He says about that stage: “I went through a period of coexistence with the Swiss clubs Basel and Seville in Spain .. I saw at that time that the talents were very normal in Basel, but the difference was in the organization.”
And about his lack of professionalism at the time, he says: Two offers were made to me from Basel and Seville, but Enppi refused, and they told me at the time that better offers would come after the World Cup. And the player, whose coach Badr Ragab influenced his career during its beginnings in Al-Ahly, adds: I did not know that the transfer window closes during the month of August, that is, immediately after the end of the World Cup. But Ahmed seems proud of his current experience with Future, who does not have a long experience in Egyptian football. He says: I play with a big club on the idea, and the players who were selected for the team are at the highest level and we want to have a good season, and this has already happened so far.
His team is currently ranked tenth out of 18 after six matches in the Egyptian League. Ahmed highly appreciates the role of the Egyptian fans in Doha: “It gives us the motivation”, and hopes that the team will delight the fans, stressing that coach Queiroz’s team is thinking about each match separately. Regarding the recent confrontation of Al-Nashma, which ended 3-1 after the extension, which he entered as a substitute in the first extra period, Refaat confirms that he did not doubt for a moment that his team would win: “For me, I have never played a match in my life, considering that the opponent will win. Stay focused until the end.”