Elham Abdel Malek, well-known as “Nasra”, is a phenomenon in Egyptian women’s football. Wadi Degla’s goalie who showed spectacular level in the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League is also known to be a handball superstar with Cairo giants Al Ahly.
Despite seeing her side Wadi Degla finishing third in Group A and being eliminated from the group stage, Nasra produced numerous heroics that caught everyone’s attention.
“I started my athletic life as a handball player, my older sister (Marwa) used to play football with Wadi Degla so I also started playing with Degla as a forward. Later I changed to a goalkeeper on my coach’s suggestion as I saw we lacked good goalkeepers in Egypt. Then I joined the national team as a goalkeeper and qualified to the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations,” Nasra told CAFOnline.com.
Asked about playing two different sports on a professional level at the same time, Nasra said “I have both games in my heart. I’m a goalie in football but a field player in handball. People always told me you cannot succeed in both; you’ll just get distracted. But with my family’s and clubs’ help I did what I want. I take care of both sports and do efforts in them. Now I participate in football’s Women’s Champions League with Degla as I did in the handball one with Al Ahly. Each sport completes the other for me,” she explained.
Having a Women’s Champions League was a distant dream for her, so she had to accept Wadi Degla’s offer without thinking. “My contract had ended with Al Tayaran when Degla contacted me to play for them in the Women’s Champions League, so I said ‘yes’ in a heartbeat to go back home. The news of having a CAF WCL was too good to be true, I could not believe it until our first match against AS Mande kicked off. We performed well in the tournament and presented a good image of the Egyptian women’s football”, added Nasra.
Seeing a girl that plays a sport from Upper Egypt is not ordinary, but two sports is extraordinary. “I’m from a family from El Minya, Upper Egypt. My two older sisters started playing sports. Our mother was our main support with our father, we had our focus on both sports and our education. Even our neighborhood always cheered for us as we played handball for Al Ahly, so the idea of playing football was received with much gratitude”.
Nasra’s sister Marwa used to play football for Wadi Degla and handball for Al Ahly too, before plying her handball trade abroad, namely in French side Nice.
“I would be so happy if I get a chance to play abroad after the tournament. I believe I can do this, and I trust in God’s plan to grant me this wish” Nasra revealed her ambitions after the WCL.
Nasra sees football very important to the girls. “Sports make you focus on the important things and distract you from everything harmful. Women’s football is now evolving wildly, we can forget the ‘football is only for men’ concept. Every sport can be played by everyone, it’s a bad tradition that must be broken,” she concluded.