By: Danito Nsubuga
Uganda Vs Egypt ( World Cup qualifier)
Mandela National Stadium Namboole.
Tomorrow Thursday evening the Uganda Cranes will take on the Egyptian Pharaohs in group E qualifier of the’
2018 World Cup.
Hector Cuper named a Star studded team comprised of 15 foreign based players with Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah the biggest of the contingent. Among all these is a relatively unknown youngster who plies his trade in England at premier league side Stoke City FC.
The man we should all be worried about is Ramadan Ahmed Sobhi. A forward blessed with extravagant dribbling skills, clinical passing, vision, a keen eye for goal and a heart as big as that of legend Mohammed Aboutrika. In fact most football followers in Egypt christened him “Ramadona” likening him to the great Argentine Diego Armando Maradona.
Born only 20 years ago in Cairo, Sobhi joined Al Ahly aged just 10 and he quickly progressed through the ranks at a club voted as the greatest African football club of the Century in 2005. He made his first team debut at the age of 16 and an international debut at 17 making him Egypt’s youngest debutant since Ahmed Hassam Mido.
Sobhi features for premier league side Stoke City FC
Sobhi like his idol Diego Maradona is also associated with controversy, he caused a stir in a derby match against Zamalek when he performed his ” stand on the ball trick” to produce an astonishing scene which annoyed opponent Hazem Emam and he kicked Sobhi. Emam was red carded but Sobhi apologised for the act insisting it wasn’t meant to disrespect his opponent. ” It was not arrogance, it was just a bit of skill” . Said Sobhi.
The young forward has represented Egypt at U17, U20 and U23 levels and currently he has earned 16 caps for the Pharaohs with his first goal coming against Nigeria in the qualification to the 2016 AFCON. He was bought for £5M from Al Ahly in July 2016.
” For a 20 year old, Ramadan Sobhi’s career has been quite a journey. He has in particular order, played in front of 100,000 fanatical supporters in Egypt, got sent off for standing on the ball mid game, fallen out with his coach at Al Ahly and acquired the nickname “Ramadona”. The Guardian summed up Sobhi’s career so far.
Who ever is selected at left back for the cranes tomorrow will have a daunting task of containing the Egyptian maverick, he stands at 6.0 ft tall, big and blessed with blistering pace. Watch out for Egypt’s shirt 11.