Hunt on Egyptian Gamal: He’s come in here and there’s one man and a dog
Amr Gamal is adapting to a completely new environment‚ style of play and mentality in South African football‚ Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has said on his new Egyptian striker’s tendency to blow hot and cold so far.
The ex-Al Ahly striker’s tendency to show glimpses of class‚ then also signs of being lost in the pace and movement of the Premier Soccer League (PSL)‚ was evident again as Wits beat Baroka FC 1-0 in their Telkom Knockout quarterfinal at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.
Gamal scored a poacher’s goal for Wits in the 11th minute‚ taking advantage of a moment’s hesitation between centreback Nzwanele Mahashe and goalkeeper Virgil Vries to stretch a leg and stab in the winner.
Gamal missed some fine chances in the opening 20 minutes to kill the game‚ then struggled to synch with his midfield‚ whose service to the centre-forward largely dried up.
It was put to Hunt that with better service Gamal can be deadly.
“It’s a totally different environment. He doesn’t understand me.
"He doesn’t understand English‚” Hunt said of the Egyptian‚ who still speaks in broken English.
“It’s a totally different mentality.
"He’s come in here and there’s one man and a dog here [at Wits’ home games] – he’s used to playing in front of 60 000 or 70 000 a week at Al Ahly.
“He’s been in Egypt’s World Cup squad‚ he’s playing with [Liverpool striker] Mohamed Salah and these guys. So it’s a bit of a shock here.
“Here you’ve got to work. I don’t have the Salahs and the Mohamed Aboutrikas‚ and these ones in midfield who are going to give it to you on a plate.
“So you’ve got to work a little bit harder here. I think if he stayed in the box a bit more he’d be much better. But that’s how he likes to play.”
Gamal has scored five goals in 11 league and cup games‚ a decent return for a striker finding his feet in a new country.
“But he’s missed a lot. Did you see the one he missed against Baroka [in an away league win]? He missed one against Cape Town City too in the MTN8 semifinal‚” the coach said.
“But listen‚ we need these kinds of players with that great mentality. You know‚ Al Ahly‚ they’re crazy‚ the mentality’s good.
“And I think our players can learn a lot from their mentality. Maybe they can learn a lot from our movement‚ but the mentality – he gives a lot to the team with that.”