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banner Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Egypt's new star rises
Hossam is an Egypt regular at just 18
Ahmed Hossam (right) is Egypt's new sensation
Egyptian football appears to have discovered a new striking genius to step into the shoes of Egypt's most prolific goal scorer Hossam Hassan.

Incidentally, the legend and his protégé share the same name, Hossam, even though they are not related.

So while the master nears the end of an illustrious career, Ahmed Hossam, at 18 years of age, is proving to be a ready-made replacement.

Making the most of the opportunity created by the absence through injury of the legendary Hossam Hassan, young Ahmed Hossam has exploded onto the international scene to allay the fears of Egyptian fans about the gap which will be left by Hassan's imminent retirement.

Classic goal

Last weekend the young striker, displayed his killer instinct by scoring twice in his side's 3-2 victory over Sudan in Cairo to ensure qualification for the 2002 Nations Cup finals to be played in Mali.

His second goal was a classic. Struck from 18 yards out on the left hand side, Hossam curled his shot just inside the right post to leave the Sudanese goalkeeper perplexed.

The 18-year old's explosive start to his senior international career has set tongues wagging among Egyptian football fans, many of whom had not seen him in action before because his local club career was restricted to Zamalek's junior teams.

Nicknamed Mido, Hossam's goalscoring talents have been noticed by Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam, a club noted for snatching the world's most talented young footballers.

Dutch delight

Last week Hossam signed a five-year contract with Ajax prised him away from his Belgian club, Ghent for a fee of around $4.5 million.

Ghent coach Patrick Remy believes Hossam will prove to be a success with Ajax, despite the pressure on the young man to move to a much bigger club with a higher profile.

"He's ambitious and very mature for his age. He's a goal scorer with a strong physical presence," said Remy.

Ajax director of sport Leo Beenhakker - a former Dutch national coach - is also confident that the young Egyptian would make the grade.

"The scouts and members of the technical team who have seen him play all believe Hossam is a top talent," said Beenhakker.

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