In the last of our series of Africa’s footballing legends, we profile
Egypt’s fox in a box, Mahmoud Al-Khatib.
The Pharaohs have more than a few candidates for greatness. But Mahmoud Al-Khatib, also known as “Bibo”, the greatly-loved, wins on popularity, despite being rivalled in terms of footballing prowess by the likes of Saleh Salim, El-Fanaguili and more recently Hossam Hassan.?
Winner of the African Ballon d’Or in 1983, he was born into a Cairo family of 11 children in 1954. He learnt the basics of the game on the streets and was recruited by Nadi Al-Ahly at the age of 16. With them he won the Egyptian championships 10 times, the African Champions’ Cup twice and the Cup Winners’ Cup three times.?
Known for his artistry with the ball and his ability to carve a path through the ?opposition’s defence, the very offensively-minded midfielder Bibo remains the top scorer of African club competitions.
A good striker of the ball with both head and feet, his extraordinary vision of the game took him to his first African Cup of Nations in 1974.
Successive defeats for the Pharaohs were nevertheless made memorable by his contribution, including an unforgettable goal against Algeria in 1980.
Egypt’s victory at home in 1986 crowned his career and he retired the following year to go into business. But he has never forsaken his first club and remains deputy chairman of Nadi Al-Ahly.
This article was first published in The Africa Report’s World Cup 2010 edition in May.
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