When Turki Al-Sheikh purchased Pyramids FC in 2018 and spent millions on big names, many questioned whether it was worth investing money into an Egyptian club with the hopes of overtaking Al Ahly and Zamalek.
Two years later Pyramids proved that the experiment could work as they reached the CAF Confederation Cup Final in only their second season of existence as Pyramids FC.
Now another team are trying a similar experiment: Ceramica Cleopatra FC
The club was created in 2006 by Mohamed Abou El Enein, the chairman of the Cleopatra Group and former member of the Egyptian parliament.
His company specializes in ceramics, hence the “Ceramica” in the club name. The club began their journey up the Egyptian footballing pyramid in the fourth division in the 2007.
Over a decade later El Enein achieved his dream of reaching the Premier League when Ceramica finished first in the second division in the 2019/20 season to achieve promotion.
Ceramica Cleopatra promoted to Premier League for first time in their history
Since gaining promotion four months ago, the club have undergone an almost unprecedented squad transformation, signing a whopping 18 players ahead of their Premier League debut.
Their most expensive signing, Misr El-Makkasa attacking midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim, cost the Suez club €580,000 according to transfermarkt.com.
In Ibrahim, 28, Ceramica will have their Abdallah El-Said equivalent. The former Egypt international racked up over 100 appearances for Zamalek and even had a spell in Portugal with Maritimo in 2014.
Additionally, Cleopatra signed El Makkasa’s captain Mido Gaber, a former Al Ahly prospect.
Ibrahim and Gaber were just two of the five players that Cleoptra signed from the Faiyum club.
They also signed Wadi Degla duo Abdelrahman Body and Abdallah Mahmoud.
In a move that caught the attention of many, they signed Fonsinho, the brother of Ivorian icon Gervinho. I wonder what Ceramica will be expecting from the 24 year-old, considering he’s been without a club since last March after damaging his knee cartilage.
It was a transfer window that rivaled Pyramids’ historic 2018 spending. But there were also many shrewd purchases.
Ghanaian midfielder Kwame Bonsu was one of the most highly regarded central midfielders on the continent a few years ago when he was playing at Asante Kotoko. The €290,000 transfer fee Ceramica paid former African champions Esperance de Tunis will be a candidate for bargain of the season.
We can’t talk about Ceramica’s transfers without talking about the signing of former Ahly and Egypt midfielder Saleh Gomaa – who was one of Egypt’s most exiting young players five years ago.
This squad is filled with a load of players of varying experiences and success levels – and they will surely be an exiting team to watch this season.
The team have already been in the headlines quite a bit aside from their transfers. A few days after signing for the club Mido Gaber was reportedly kidnapped. Saleh Gomaa surprisingly tested positive for the coronavirus a second time.
Their manager Haitham Shabaan, 41, was the youngster technical director in Egyptian football when he took the helm of Premier League side Al-Dakhliya in 2003 aged 21 after a leg injury cut his playing career short.
In their preseason matches this month they defeated Aswan and Petrojet, before losing to Wadi Degla.
Once the league began, Haitham Shabaan’s men were in top form – winning two out of two matches in their top-flight debut.
They defeated El Entag El Harby and National Bank of Egypt by a combined score of 5-1, with goals from 22-year-old Mahmoud Nabil and Shady Hussein powering them to first place in the table.
Saleh Gomaa and Kwame Bonsu made their league debuts on Wednesday against National Bank.
Their first real test will be against Pyramids on Sunday December 27. It will be nice to see the old vs new moneybags so early on in the season.
Two weeks later they will take on treble winners Al Ahly. If Ceramica can somehow take down both Pyramids and Al Ahly, we will have to start taking them seriously as one of the most talented sides in Africa.
Source: King fut