'We're ready': Hull City adventure starts here for Egyptian stars Gedo and Fathi
SEVEN days after their loan deals were announced during the final throes of the January transfer window, Gedo and Ahmed Fathi finally rolled into Hull City's training ground this week.
The journey from Cairo to Cottingham had been an arduous one for the new boys.
After an anxious wait in their homeland of Egypt – first for a visa and then for a work permit – the pair's move to the KC was only given the green light by the British Embassy on Tuesday morning.
A 48-hour sojourn in Madrid followed as the pair both started in Egypt's 2-1 friendly defeat to Chile on Wednesday evening before the final leg of a 2,500-mile journey brought them to Leeds Bradford airport.
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Steve Bruce joked both "better be worth the wait" when getting his first glimpse of Gedo and Fathi a week after first landing the deals, but the City boss knows full well further patience will be needed before their potential is realised.
A place on the City bench is the best both can hope for at Brighton today. A lack of competitive action over the last 12 months invites an obvious question mark, one only accentuated by a demanding week living out of a suitcase.
Despite that, the two new boys will gladly take the plunge at the Amex if called upon.
"I am ready," said Fathi with a grasp on the English tongue from his days with Sheffield United. "I'm training very hard with the team (in Egypt) and we've played some friendly matches."
Gedo, too, sang from the same hymn-sheet. "I have come back from playing against Chile on Wednesday so hopefully I will be ready in time for the game," he added through an interpreter.
For Gedo, in particular, this week has been a step into the unknown.
The 28-year-old striker has never played domestic football outside of Egypt. Although he has climbed to the top of African football both with club, Al Ahly, and country, Egypt, a bold move to English football has the potential to shape the best years of his career.
"I'm very happy to have come to Hull City and I hope I can be a good addition to the squad where I can help the team to win promotion to the Premier League," he said.
"It's an adventure for me because this is my first appearance in England.
"I hope to be up for the challenge and hopefully I can leave something for the fans to remember in the UK.
"The presence of all my Egyptian compatriots and the chairman of the club will definitely make it easier to adapt. I hope to adapt quickly."
Compatriot Fathi boasts the greater experience.
With 91 caps spanning a 12-year career with the Egyptian national team, the versatile midfielder and defender can also call on a brief stay with Sheffield United in 2007. There he was a team-mate of City midfielder Stephen Quinn.
"I played for Sheffield United here in 2007 and when they went into the second division I left because they had many troubles," said Fathi.
"I went back to Egypt then but now I am back again. I like the English game, it's very strong.
"In Spain you have Barcelona and Real Madrid but here you have all the teams making an effort to win. Even when it's the first team against the last team, it is a good match."
Fathi made only two starts under Neil Warnock at Bramall Lane but arrives back in Yorkshire a more rounded individual.
Bruce has spoken of the newcomer's ability to play as a holding midfielder as well as at right-back or on the right of a three-man defence.
There will be an Egyptian feel at the Amex with Gedo and Fathi joining Ahmed Elmohamady in the City ranks up against Brighton centre-back Adam El-Abd.
For Fathi, the chance to impress cannot come soon enough. He added: "It's a good move for me. It's a good step here because there are many good players.
"I hope to play with Hull City and go to the Premier League. I will do my best.