Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed El Boghday, Gido Vader –via Sherif Ekramy official Facebook page
CAIRO - 17 June 2017: Al-Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy, who also plays for the Egyptian national team, spoke to Egypt Today last week about his career at Feyenoord.
Ekramy discussed some key points of his career in Feyenoord such as his first game with the club, his encounter with four managers, and the reasons to why came back to play football in Egypt.
Ekramy talked about his feelings during his first match with Feyenoord’s first team.
“My feeling in the first match with Feyenoord was something I did not witness before. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, because this was in my first year at the club and when I went, my manager Erwin Koeman believed that I came from a country that does not play football on a professional level. Also he believed that this was a great shift for me as a player and I needed time to adapt.”
Adding on to his experience in the first match, Ekramy stated “Also, in the first match with Feyenoord I was not the first choice for Koeman, but goalkeeper Maikel Aerts was having a bad match and asked for substitution. Then the manager came to me and told me ‘get ready you are going to play.’ We were playing against Waalwijk and the first half ended in a 2-2 draw. After I entered in the second half, I performed well and we managed to win 4-2.“
Ekramy continued speaking on the fans’ reception of him during his first match and what they called him after his great performance.
“When the fans saw me enter the pitch, they gave me a warm welcome and supported me in the match. The fans liked the young players on the team and would always support the new players. They supported me in an unbelievable way and after the match they called me the new Dudek. They saw in me the potential to be like Dudek and repeat his history,” he added.
Dudek is a goalkeeper who is considered to be one of Feyenoord’s club legends. He managed to win the 2005 Champions League trophy with Liverpool against AC Milan in a dramatic match that ended 3-3 and 3-2 in penalties for Liverpool. Out of the five penalties, Dudek was able to save three of the shots, securing the Champions League win for Liverpool. After his career with Liverpool, Dudek went to Real Madrid and played there for four years before retiring.
Ekramy then talked to Egypt Today about his overall journey with Feyenoord and the difficulties he faced at the club.
“I can say that I had a good career with Feyenoord and I was able to stay there for four and a half years. I came back because I was faced with bad luck due to the fact that I went through four different coaches during my career there and this is something that prevented me from continuing. So, for them, I was a foreign player and they needed time to assess my skills properly. Once a manager trusted me they were replaced. So, four managers changed during my time at Feyenoord and I had to prove that I was a quality goalkeeper with each manager and that took time.”
When asked about which one of the four managers who coached him during his time at Feyenoord was his favorite Ekramy said, “Erwin Koeman was my favorite coach. Even though he didn’t want me to play at the beginning, but after drawing even against PSV, Koeman said in a press conference he was very happy and surprised at my performance. He said I would fight for a starting position in the next season. In all I played under Koeman for a season and a half.”
He then addressed the reasons to why he left Feyenoord and went to Ankara.
“During my career at Feyenoord, players from my generation where winning trophies in 2006, 2008 and 2010 with the Egyptian national team. Then I began to think that the time is passing and I need to be consistently playing with a team in order to go to the Egyptian national team. This was due to the fact that Hassan Shehata, the manager of the Egyptian national team at the time, wanted players that played regularly for their clubs to join the national team,” Ekramy said.
“So I tried to continue my career in Europe, but unfortunately I didn’t have a strong network with agents that would let me play in a club on par with Feyenoord. Then I moved to Ankara, but I sensed that there was a lack of honesty. So, I decided to leave the club and start a new chapter in my career in Egypt,” Ekramy added.
“I decided to go back to Egypt, because in 2010 and the years leading up to it the league was strong and I wanted to go to a place where I would be able to play consistently because I was 26 years old and the time was passing. Also, I wanted to avoid going to another club in Europe where I would wait to play and people still would not know of me. So, I found that going to Egypt and playing there was the perfect decision for me,” Ekramy explained.
Ekramy concluded the interview by talking about the Egyptian players who played abroad and whether or not they succeeded. “There are some players who succeeded and there where others who unfortunately didn’t succeed, and I can’t tell you why they didn’t succeed because I don’t know what they went through. However, there were some players who had an excellent career in Europe.”
Al-Ahly and the Egyptian national team goalkeeper managed to achieve an outstanding record this season with Al-Ahy, having 28 clean sheets out of 35 matches played this season.