Amr Zaki

Amr Zaki

Amr Zaki

It takes a special player to spark a fashion craze of fez-wearing fans on the terraces of a football club in the north of England, writes Steve Vickers.

But with Amr Zaki's superb start on loan at Wigan, many of his admirers took to wearing the tasselled hats that are to be found in Egypt and elsewhere.

The club's shop ran out of the letter 'Z' as fans rushed to buy jerseys with Zaki's name on the back.

His rise to prominence was as rapid as it was impressive, taking an early lead in the English Premier League's goalscorers chart, finding the target seven times in his first eight games.

His stunning strike with an overhead kick in a league game against Liverpool suggested that the striker could well be destined to move to a bigger club than Wigan.

Zaki made a great start to the year, as his four goals helped Egypt to triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana.

He netted two goals in the Pharaohs' 4-1 destruction of Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.

After the Nations Cup, Zaki returned to Cairo club Zamalek, who finished a distant third behind Al Ahly in the league.

He scored the winning goal as Zamalek beat ENPPI to win the Egyptian Cup in May.

With his accuracy and stocky build, Zaki can rightly be counted among Europe's top strikers at the moment, even though few outside Africa had even heard of him four months ago.