DUBAI // Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, the chairman of the Al Ahli club, insists the saga over Hosny Abd Rabo's transfer is over as he officially announced the Dubai club's capture of the Egyptian star. Hosny, the player of the tournament at the 2007 African Cup of Nations in Ghana, arrived at Al Ahli on Saturday, but the club waited until yesterday before announcing his arrival as there was confusion over his status.
In 2005, Hosny signed a five-year deal with the French club Strasbourg. But when they were relegated at the end of the 2006 season, Hosny returned to his previous club El-Ismailya in Egypt on loan. El-Ismaily claim they have resolved their dispute with Strasbourg over the player's services with a payment of 800,000 euros or Dh4.6 million (25 per cent of the value of his transfer to any other team) and insist his transfer to Al Ahli is sound. But the French club still lay claim on the player. Reports suggest they could be going to the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne to resolve the matter.
"We already have a clearance letter from Fifa stating that Hosny is an El-Ismaily player," said Khalifa. "That is the final thing on the matter as far as we are concerned. There are no obstacles anymore - Hosny is an Al Ahli player now. "Whenever we make a deal, we study the legal issues involved so that we are covered. We have gone step-by-step on this deal and we are not worried about anything."
The Egyptian club Al Ahly, the Saudi Arabia side Al Nasr and the Spaniards Osasuna were also interested in the player known as "Caesar". Khalifa insists he was not worried about losing out to any other club in the hunt for Hosny. "We were in communication with El-Ismaily and they had assured us of a deal," said Khalifa. "Hosny is not just a very good player, but a very honest man and we trusted him."
Though were no figures given for the contract, reports claim that Al Ahli paid El-Ismaily US$2.25m (Dh8.26m), while Hosny himself will receive $1.5m (Dh5.5m) over twoyears. There was a media campaign in Egypt against Hosny's move, with reports claiming he had received threats from the El-Ismaily fans. "I have a lot of affection for El-Ismaily," said Hosny. "But now I am in Dubai and happy to be here."
The Al Ahli coach Ivan Hasek said: "He played for my team (Strasbourg), so we know about his big heart and his mentality." @Email:email@example.com