Another World Cup qualifying campaign has come to an end, and Egypt, once again, have failed to reach the grand stage; but there were no doubt many positives for the Pharaohs to take home from yesterday’s 2-1 win over Ghana at the Air Defense Stadium.
One of those positives: Egypt’s #3. Zamalek’s right wing-back (RWB) Hazem Emam – whose namesake is Egypt and Zamalek legend Hazem Emam – was easily the Man of the Match against the Black Stars on Tuesday.
Emam, who started at right-back forcing Ahmed Fathi into central defensive midfield, was solid over the 90 minutes, providing an unexpected spark to Egypt’s attack while also keeping Marseille’s André Ayew quiet throughout.
The RWB, who signed a new 4-year deal with the Whites last month, was fouled in a dangerous area in the first half – which led to the free-kick Amr Zaki scored off of – and he could’ve had a goal of his own after a slick one-two between him and FC Basel’s Mohamed Salah, but he was denied by Dauda.
Surprisingly, this was the 25-year-old’s competitive debut for Egypt as the likes of Ahmed Fathi and Elmohamady are often preferred, while disciplinary issues with Zamalek in the past resulted in limited playing time for the talented Emam.
Hazem, blessed with flair, trickery and speed, only has a total of five national team caps to his name so far – four of which have come under Bob Bradley since late September (including yesterday against Ghana) – but already a goal and two assists.
With the likes of Omar Gaber and Egypt U-20 vice captain Osama Ibrahim also appearing as talented prospects for the future in the same position, the Pharaohs should have healthy competition for the starting right-back role for years to come.
Watch Hazem Emam’s touches & skills against Ghana: