In joining CF Montreal, Egyptian u23 international Ahmed Hamdy finally secured his wish to play abroad.
The only thing, he had his sights on Europe, but perhaps views MLS as a stepping stone to reach his ultimate ambition.
There’s also another huge incentive for the player to perform well in Montreal colours - his country qualified for the 2020 Olympic football tournament (due to be played this year), and he harbours a short-term ambition to be on the plane to Tokyo for the tournament, scheduled for late July.
The 22-year-old has been playing at El-Gouna since January 2019 after joining them on loan from Al-Ahly. The deal was made permanent in September of the same year, and includes a buy-back option for The Reds as well as a 30% sell-on clause.
Hamdy has attracted interest from several European clubs throughout his Egyptian Premier League career, but each time speculation failed to materialize towards a move. It left the player disappointed and frustrated and in the case of a potential move to the Russian Premier League last September, it led to a dispute with his club, El-Gouna.
The first Euro-club to show interest was Serie A’s Udinese while Hamdy was still establishing himself at Al-Ahly. Then Portugal’s Sporting Braga came calling after he’d moved to El-Gouna.
But the latest interest from Rubin Kazan caused a fall-out between player, club and agent. there was added complexity in that player-agent Nader Shawky, is also director of the company that manages El-Gouna.
According to Shawky the Russian club had apparently given El-Gouna an ultimatum, that a response to their offer should be received within 24 hours. Shawky claimed he had an important match the next day and his response was issued a day later than the deadline. Rubin Kazan cut off contact.
Hamdy was furious. He opened fire on the El-Gouna club calling it ‘unprofessional’. It’s alleged he tried extensively to contact Shawky throughout the day before the deadline expired, but the player agent did not answer his phone.
It took a meeting convened by the Professional Players Association, involving both Ahmed Hamdy and Nader Shawky, who attended as the president of the company responsible for El-Gouna, to resolve what had now become a crisis and return the player to training.
Finally the player has engineered his move. Hamdy will move on a season-long loan to MLS, with CF Montreal having the option to make the deal permanent.
The news of the signing was welcomed by CF Montréal sporting director Olivier Renard, who hailed the player.
“We are very pleased with the acquisition of this young U-23 international.
“He is a player with attacking qualities, who can play as a box-to-box midfielder or higher up as an attacking midfielder.
“He’s very skilled technically and can provide that final, decisive pass. We hope he will confirm what we saw in him, so that we can keep him with us for several years.”
Hamdy becomes the first-ever Egyptian to represent CF Montréal/Montreal Impact and the only second current Pharaoh in the MLS alongside Amro Tarek (New York Red Bulls).
He will also become the second Egyptian to play for a Canadian club in the MLS after Aly Ghazal, who had a stint at Vancouver Whitecaps.