Ahmed Hamdi has been part of CF Montreal for a little over a year, but we kind of feel like we don’t know him.
• Read also: Kwizera is finally here
In fact, since he joined the team, he had never granted an interview before this one. He does not speak French and he understands English well, although he is not comfortable enough to speak it fluently.
It is therefore through Karam Al-Hamdani, the club’s chief sports therapist, that we speak with the 24-year-old Egyptian.
“Not speaking either of the two languages, having someone who speaks Arabic in the team has helped me a lot,” admits the midfielder, who leaned on Al-Hamdani upon his arrival.
As you can imagine, moving from Egypt to Canada is not easy, especially when you find yourself in a city where two languages that you do not master are found side by side.
“I experienced a huge culture shock when I arrived in Montreal, admits Hamdi, whose shyness hides a smile that is revealed at times. Everything is completely different, things are not done the same way. Food and languages are different. But the team welcomed me with open arms. »
The first shock was perhaps not what we would have anticipated.
“A big difference is the outside temperature. I didn’t understand, it was April and it was still cold outside. »
Hamdi therefore arrived in a team where Arabic is spoken very little, but he was never left to himself.
“Several veterans took me under their wing to help me adapt to life in North America. »
It is therefore not easy to understand what is expected of him in the first months. But he started taking English lessons last year, which helped him a lot. Very rarely did he need our interpreter to translate one of the questions during this interview.
“I manage to say a few words in French and in English. I approached the situation with an open mind because it is an experience that will allow me to grow as a person. »
Living in Montreal
“Unfortunately, we stayed in Florida for several months last year. I haven’t yet been able to take full advantage of what Montreal has to offer,” he laments, but he is making up for it.
“I am now able to move around, meet people of Egyptian origin and I can also discover new types of cuisine. »
He seems reserved, but he is also very curious, which helps him in taming his new culture. And it goes through the stomach.
“Even when I was in Egypt, I would go to different restaurants to try new things. Here, I didn’t have a big shock, I even like the poutine. »
“One thing that I find much better here than in Egypt is the sushi, it’s definitely better, it’s better presented and the service is better. »
A great desire to learn more about the club
Ahmed Hamdi is a serious young man and he took the means to get to know his new environment well when he knew that there was a possibility that he would end up in Montreal.
“I was not very familiar with MLS and North American soccer because in Egypt, we are close to Europe so we watch a lot of European football,” he admits.
“When my agent told me about this possibility, I searched the internet for information and I watched videos of the team to find out how we played here and I wanted to find myself in a place where I could progress. . »
He notably came across a compilation of goals by Didier Drogba with the Impact. That leaves a good impression on a young player.
If Ahmed Hamdi didn’t know much about MLS, it was largely due to the eight-hour time difference between the two countries. And when the matches are presented in the west of the continent, the gap is even greater.
“There are differences in the game between Egypt and North America. I feel like most of the teams here have a pretty similar style,” said the only Egyptian player in MLS this season.
“In Egypt, there are quite significant differences between the top-ranked teams and the lower ones. »
journaldemontreal Fr Sport