Ceramica Cleopatra, who will make their Egyptian Premier League debut this season, are hoping they can challenge for a top-four finish on their maiden appearance after signing more than a dozen players.
The debutants, backed by wealthy owner Mohamed Abou El Enein, have spent big in the close season as they look to quickly make their mark.
They have so far landed 14 players, including several footballers who played for Cairo’s famed duo Ahly and Zamalek, such as playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim and winger Mido Gaber.
Other recruits include Ghanaian attacking midfielder Winnful Cobbina, who arrived from Accra-based club Hearts of Oak, and Ivorian winger Fonsinho, a free agent who had spells with ASEC Mimosas and Africa Sports.
“Our ambition is to challenge for a place among the top four in the league,” said Ashour Al-Adham, another close-season signing who had stints with Zamalek and Port Said-based club Masry.
“The new arrivals have Premier League experience and Ceramica Cleopatra’s promotion will increase the competitiveness of the competition.”
The club, which was established in 2006, sealed promotion to the top flight on the final day of last season.
They are bankrolled by Abou El Enein, a famous businessman who owns one of the leading Egyptian firms in the ceramic wall and floor tiles industry. He is also a member of the Egyptian parliament.
Ceramica Cleopatra are the latest in a series of Premier League clubs owned by wealthy businessmen, including Gouna, Wadi Degla and Pyramids FC.
However, all of the Egyptian privately-owned sides do not have a significant fan base. The likes of Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily, Masry and Alexandria-based club Ittihad — who have large fan bases, partially because they represent entire cities — are owned by the state.