For the better part of his career, Ahmed Awad has been known for setting Sweden’s second and third tiers alight. In 2018, he got to prove his mettle in the top tier of Swedish Football when he played a starring role in Dalkurd FF’s improbable promotion. The attacking midfielder’s stay would prove to be rather brief but he did leave an impression after a slow start to the season. Three goals and four assists in 22 games for a club that finished 15th out 16 teams was a solid return.
In spite of his production, there were no takers for Awad in the Allsvenskan. So the Palestinian international returned for another year with Dalkurd in the second tier and again finished the season with a flurry of goals- eight in 11 matches- in what proved to be his final year with the Kurdish community club.
In early 2020 there were once again no suitors for Ahmed Awad who signed for Vasteras and remained in the second tier of Swedish football. While Awad shone for the club- particularly in the Svenska Cupen- the team’s form left them closer to the bottom of the table than the top.
Awad also was not producing the goals and assists he had produced over the last three seasons- notching only a goal and an assist in 797 minutes.
When football restarted in Sweden this summer, Awad had just turned 28 and by the way things were trending you would be forgiven for thinking his chance at being a star in the Allsvenskan had passed.
For all his exploits, Awad was continuously overlooked by his national team and by bigger clubs even as he finished as Svenska Cupen top scorer earlier this year. Things took an unexpected turn two weeks ago when analytics driven Östersunds came knocking.
If the name of the club sounds familiar it is because they made an epic run in the Svenska Cupen and the Europa league two years ago with (still Palestine eligible) Hosam Aiesh.
ÖFK Head Coach Amir Azarfshan had this to say about his new signing:
“In Ahmed Awad, we not only get a player with an offensive edge but another hungry player who fits into what we want to build and how we want to be. It is a player that we believe can contribute with quality and qualities that fit into how we want to play. We are happy to be able to recruit such a person and we believe that he can help us get where we want.”
Östersunds signed Awad on the heels of a season ending injury to his former Dalkürd FF teammate Rewan Amin and will be counting on him to help improve the side’s anemic attack.
Assisting a Comeback
Ahmed Awad made his first appearance for his new club just before the break. A ten minute cameo in a 2-1 win over Falkenberg signaled intent from his coach to integrate him into the side but his path the starting XI would no doubt be difficult.
Since Amir Azarfshan took charge on July 11th, Östersunds have only lost twice in 11 matches and the victory over Falkenberg was the club’s fourth straight win.
Thursday night presented Awad with a golden opportunity to state his case. Down 2-0 on the road against Nörkopping, Awad replaced Francis Baptiste in the 63rd minute and ten minutes later threaded a pass for Blair Turgott to slam home.
With 11 matches left in the season Östersunds remain in the hunt for a Europa League spot alongside half a dozen other clubs. If Awad can help his new team’s offensive efficiency then ÖFK will have every chance of climbing the table. The side has the league’s fourth best defence (21 goals conceded) but have managed a league low 19 goals over the first 19 goals of of the season.