كتب : نصري عصمت | الأحد، 09 يناير 2011 - 21:24

Why do I prefer Gomaa to Shikabala and Treika?

I have to admit that I have never enjoyed polls about favorite players or teams; this is because I never consider myself a fan of Egyptian football stars such as Abou-Treika, Shikabala or even Hossam Hassan.

I hate polls because I know that everything in football is variable and dependable on different factors. For instance, one deflected shot can change the destiny of managers, players and clubs.

However, I believe that the only exception of my personal rule is Wael Gomaa, the Egypt defender who achieved a century of caps with the Pharaohs against Uganda.

Gomaa has become my favorite player since his first international cap in 2001 for many reasons.

The former Ghazl Mahalla center-half is not as skillful as Abou-Treika, Barakat or Shikabala. He doesn’t get local media attention 24/7 like other local stars and has never labeled himself the ‘best defender in Egypt’ as some of his Ahli teammates did during the last decade.

Instead, he was busy keeping his form for more than 10 years with Ahli and Egypt, and eventually managed to reach a century of caps because of his consistency.

Egypt and Ahli had their moments of glory and shame over the last decade, but Gomaa was almost the only player who maintained a minimum level of performance as well as discipline on and off the pitch.

I always felt the fans' trust in Gomaa's fighting spirit and determination before recent editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Egyptian veteran was often assigned to stop the likes of Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.

Sometimes the fans wonder how the 35-year-old will be able to stop Africa’s fully-fit goal-machines but they never doubted that he will do his best to finish the job and do whatever it takes to keep them at bay.

On the other hand, Gomaa's success against world class African stars was left no doubt that the scarcity of Egyptian footballers in Europe is not really down to their form.

The Ahli management turned down an offer from Blackburn Rovers to sign Gomaa a few years ago as the Red Devils couldn’t afford to lose their defensive pillar by letting him play in the Premier League.

But I strongly believe the combative defender would have made the same impact the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Kolo Toure made in the elite competition.

Football has never been fair in recognizing the efforts of those who protect their goal in comparison with goalscorers and the ones who entertain the crowd with their skills.

I always vote for Gomaa in any poll because of his endless efforts to keep the Egyptian backline sturdy.

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