x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Hosny 'a great advert for the game'

The Al Ahli coach Ivan Hasek believes the arrival of Hosny Abd Rabo will boost the UAE league's popularity.

Hosny Abd Rabo, centre, is welcomed by the Al Ahli club chairman Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, right, and the captain Salem Khamis.
Hosny Abd Rabo, centre, is welcomed by the Al Ahli club chairman Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, right, and the captain Salem Khamis.

DUBAI // Ivan Hasek, the coach of the Al Ahli club, believes the arrival of Hosny Abd Rabo will give the popularity of the UAE league a boost among expatriates. Hosny, who was officially announced an Al Ahli player on Wednesday, is one of the biggest football stars in Egypt and was voted the Player of the Tournament at the 2007 African Cup of Nations. The 23-year-old midfield ace overshadowed the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba to be named the best player in a victorious Egyptian campaign at Ghana. His performances earned him praise from the likes of the new Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho and the French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly. It also brought interests from clubs Newcastle, Bolton, Paris Saint Germain and Osasuna.

"When you have the best player of the last African Cup of Nations playing in the UAE league, it is a great advertisement for the game here," said Hasek, who guided Al Ahli to the President's Cup title last season. "He is one of the great players of Africa and his presence here will give a massive boost to football's popularity in this country. Hosny is one of the most famous players in the UAE league and football lovers from across the club divide will be coming out to see him.That is very important for the game here in the UAE."

Hosny's presence is guaranteed to invite throngs of football-crazy Egyptians fans to the gates of Al Ahli, and Hasek will delighted to see that happen. "I certainly hope he will swell our ranks of supporters," said the former Czech international. "It would be great to see the Egyptian fans coming out to support him and our club. We need the fans - without them we are nothing." Hasek also hopes the addition of Hosny to the squad will help Al Ahli to reclaim the league title they last won in 2006. "He is a great player and our team will only get stronger with his addition," said Hasek. "He has a lot of quality and plays form box to box. He is a team player and that is very important for us.

"Having said that, in football we cannot talk about just one player. Clubs who work together, show the right spirit and team ethics will win championships." Hosny has played at the Egyptian club El-Ismaily since 2003, except for a season in Ligue 1 at the French club Strasbourg. @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae