Better known as Gedo, Mohamed Nagy has shown that Al-Ahly SC’s decision to doggedly track down his signature was a wise one. In the two years since he burst on to the international scene by helping Egypt land the 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, the 28-year-old forward has become a true star for the Red Devils.
He underlined his worth to the Egyptian side by scoring five crucial goals in their triumphant 2012 CAF Champions League campaign, including a hat-trick in the semi-final defeat of Nigeria’s Sunshine Stars and his side’s all-important opener in the second leg of the final against Esperance of Tunisia.
That success earned them a place at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012. Just before jetting off to the Far East, Gedo sat down for a chat with FIFA.com and looked ahead to his first appearance in the competition and his club’s fourth overall.
FIFA.com: It’s been a traumatic year for Al-Ahly, hasn’t it?
Gedo: Yes, it’s been a testing season and the Port Said tragedy, where 72 supporters lost their lives, was very difficult to come to terms with. It affected me personally and we really didn’t feel like playing football anymore. The only thing that got us going again was the promise we made to the families of the martyrs to win the Champions League in their honour.
Do you think that your CAF Champions League win went some way to easing their pain?
I hope so, though nothing can make up for the loss of a son. I hope us winning that title helped a little for them. It’s the least we could have done for them.
Let’s talk about the final. The first leg at the Borg Al Arab ended in a 1-1 draw. How did you feel about your chances of winning the return in Tunis?
We were more focused than ever going into the second leg and our only aim was to win the title. They held us to a draw at home, for sure, but in a way that helped us because it meant we had nothing to lose. We gave it everything and I think we played one of the best games in Al-Ahly’s history. We really deserved the win.
Your goals proved vital all the way through the competition, though you failed to get on the scoresheet in the first leg of the final. Did you think you’d make up for it in Rades in the return?
Obviously I’m looking to score in every game I play. It was a tough game for us, but my team-mates stepped it up a level. I’d never have scored that goal without their help. I put the ball in the back of the net, but it was the whole team that made possible.
Did you feel nervous at all about partnering El Sayed Hamdi in attack against Esperance?
Not at all. He’s one of those guys I love playing with and we had a perfect understanding in the semi-final against Sunshine Stars. He’s a talented player with a lot of skill. He laid on the pass for the goal I scored in Rades and he got our equaliser in the first leg at Borg Al Arab. I hope our partnership will be just as productive in Japan, if not more so.
What was the trickiest moment of your Champions League campaign and who was the toughest team you faced?
Stade Malien caused us lots of problems. There was a lot of political instability and insecurity there when we went over for the first leg, and in the return game in Egypt we fell a goal behind, which meant we had to score three to go through. Aboutrika turned the tie around with a miracle hat-trick, scoring twice in the last ten minutes.
Quite a few of your team-mates, such as Mohamed Aboutrika, Mohamed Barakat, Wael Gomaa and Emad Moteab, have already played in a FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. Which new star will Al-Ahly be unveiling to the world this year?
The team’s packed with great players and it’s not easy to pick one out. All I know is we can go far and I can guarantee the Japanese fans that we’ll be putting on a show.
Al-Ahly have played in three FIFA Club World Cups to date, though this is your first time. What are you expecting from the competition? Are there any teams and players you’re looking forward to coming up against?
I’m delighted to be here and play in my first FIFA competition. I hope we can reach the final and take on Chelsea and [Fernando] Torres, who’s one of my favourite players.
Rumour has it you might be leaving Al-Ahly. Is there any truth in that?
I’ve received offers from a few clubs, but I don’t think this is the right time to be talking about that. We need to wait until we get back from Japan to see if the Egyptian championship is going to start up again. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to leave the club.