Time to reflect

With the first half of the league coming to an end, oil companies’ teams have yet to improve their performance in the second half.
With the end of the fifteenth week of the National Football League, the first half of the competition has come to an end. The interval between the first and the second half will provide a golden opportunity for oil companies’ clubs to review their performance throughout the last fifteen games, enhance their line-up, and change tactics if they are willing to leave a good impression this season.

As a matter of fact, the three oil clubs playing in the national league could hardly impress critics. Except for the newly promoted Petrojet, which did quite good during the first half, the other two teams—Enppi and Assiut Petrol— failed to give a performance worthy of praise.

Enppi, the first oil club to make it to the national league in 2003, failed to continue the illustrious streak it achieved in the past three seasons. After finishing second in the 2004-2005 season and third in the 2005-2006 season, it seems that the club will not end this season among even the first four positions. After the fourteenth week of the tournament, the club has garnered only 15 points, leaving them in 11th place. The team won only three games (after beating the Olympic Club of Alexandria 1-0, Assiut Petrol 4-1, and the Coastal Guards 2-0), lost three encounters (to Zamalek 3-0, the Arab Contractors 2-1, and Suez Cement 1-0) and drew in four games (with Ismaili 1-1, with Tanta 0-0, with Ittihad of Alexandria 0-0, with Misri of Port Said 1-1, with Mehalla 1-1, and with Tersana 0-0). Having scored only 12 goals, the team’s net received the same number of goals.

Rubbing salt to the wound, the team bid the Arab Champions League farewell, having lost to Faisali of Jordan in the round of 16. It also decided not to participate again in the most prestigious Arab competition, saying “the competition is no longer fair,” according to one of the club’s officials.

Despite the fact that the LE15 million spent on the new thirteen players didn’t pay off until this moment, it seems that the club will have to further enhance its line-up. Enppi officials have announced that they managed to sign the Iraqi striker Mustafa Kareem of Erbel Club. The 19-year-old player will wear the club’s turquoise jersey for the coming five years for $120,000, according to Alaa Abdel-Sadeq, football affairs manager of Enppi. The club is also trying to sign a foreign goalkeeper during the transfer period in January, after its Angolan goalkeeper was injured two months ago. The club’s fans are hoping that German coach Reiner Tsobel brings the team back on the right track, given his long experience in Egyptian football.

As the performance of Enppi has been on the decline during the first half, the star of Petrojet began to rise. The newly promoted team has collected 22 points out of fourteen games, which catapulted it to seventh place on the league table. The team won six matches (The Army 3-2, Olympic Club of Alexandria 3-1, Tanta 2-1, and Assiut Petrol 3-2, Misri of Port Said 2-0, and Enppi 2-1), drew four games (with the Arab Contractors 0-0, and with the Coastal Guards 2-2, with Ittihad of Alexandria 1-1, and with Mehalla 1-1), and lost to Zamalek 2-0, and to Ismaili 2-1, and to Suez Cement 2-1, and to Ahli 4-0.

Thanks to its veteran coach Mokhtar Mokhtar, the team has presented quite good performances in the first half. Critics nominate the club to claim one of the first four positions by the end of the second half.

The third oil club representing the oil sector in the League, Assiut Petrol, has been the worst of the three oil clubs in the league. Up till now the club has garnered only six points out of fourteen matches, leaving it in the bottom of the table. Having achieved only one victory over Tanta – 1-0 — the club has drawn in three games with Misri of Port Said, powerhouse Zamalek, and Tersana, the team suffered ten losses (to the Coastal Guards 2-0, Ittihad of Alexandria 2-1, Ahli 3-1, Ghazl El-Mehalla 3-0, Enppi 4-1, Petrojet 3-2, the Army 2-0, to the Olympic Club of Alexandria 2-1,  to Ismaili 3-0, and to the Arab Contractors 1-0), conceded 28 goals, and scored only ten goals.

Given its string of dismal performances, many critics firmly believe that the team is highly unlikely to show up in the premier league next season.


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