Pundits will tell you that Egypt have suffered domestically because of a lack of a functioning league for the greater part of the year. But you wouldn't know it, as they dominated the Caf awards on Thursday.
Together with Zambia, the North Africans showed their staying-power, as Ahly were named Africa’s best club for 2012. Their talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika was chosen as the best African-based player as well.
Egypt’s rising star Mohamed Salah, who plays for Swiss side Basel, was named as the most promising talent after beating off competition from Senegalese forward Pape Moussa Konate and Celtic’s Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama.
The late coach Mahmoud El-Gohary, a cult figure in Egyptian football who died in September at the age of 74, shared the “legend award” with former Cameroon skipper Rigobert Song.
Ahly boss Hossam El-Badry, who steered the club to a record-extending seventh Champions League title last month, missed out on the best coach award, which went to Frenchman Herve Renard after he led Zambia to a stunning Nations Cup triumph early this year.
Impressive Ahly are credited for the Egyptian achievements after defying the odds in a turbulent year for domestic football, which was suspended for an indefinite period following February’s Port Said disaster.
Veteran schemer Abou-Treika outshined Zambian duo Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu, who were instrumental in their country’s Nations Cup triumph, to become the second Egyptian to win the best African-based player award after Ahmed Hassan, who won it 2010.
His crucial and decisive goals helped Ahly win the Champions League and he was also part of Egypt’s squad for the London Olympic Games as one of the three over-age players. He notched two goals in the Olympics but the young Pharaohs were eliminated at the hands of Japan in the quarter finals.
Abou-Treika also became the joint all-time top scorer of the Club World Cup earlier this month after taking his tally to four goals, on level with Argentinean wizard Lionel Messi and Brazilian forward Denilson.
Although Egypt’s senior team failed to make it to next year’s Nations Cup finals, 20-year-old forward Salah stole the limelight with a series of impressive displays which earned him a move to Basel last summer.
He quickly established himself as a key player in Egypt’s Olympic and senior teams. He famously scored the goal that earned Egypt a last-gasp 3-2 victory over Guinea in their second World Cup qualifying game.
Salah also notched two Swiss league goals and created many others for his Basel teammates.