PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL
Why Gamal blows hot and cold at Wits
Amr Gamal is adapting to a completely new environment‚ style of play and mentality in South African football‚ Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt said of his new Egyptian striker’s tendency to blow hot and cold.
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‚ 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 centre-back Mzwanele Mahashe and goalkeeper Virgil Vries to stretch a leg and stab in the winner.
In the opening 20 minutes, Gamal missed some fine chances to kill the game off‚ then struggled to synch with his midfield‚ whose service to the centre-forward largely dried up.
It was suggested to Hunt that Gamal can be deadly if provided with a better service.
"It’s a totally different environment. He doesn’t understand me. He doesn’t understand English‚" Hunt said.
"It’s a totally different mentality. He’s come in here and there’s one man and a dog here [at Wits’s home games] – he’s used to playing in front of 60,000 or 70,000 a week at Al Ahly [in Egypt].
"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‚" Hunt said.
"But listen‚ we need these kinds of players with that great mentality. You know‚ Al Ahly‚ they’re crazy‚ the mentality’s good."