Did Saudi Club Al-Ahli sign an Israeli player?

On Friday evening,  Saudi club Al-Ahli Jeddah played against Al-Wehda in the Saudi Pro League, and lost 2-1.

Surprisingly, according to Soccerway, one of the world’s leading websites and info sources for football scores and squads, Al-Ahli had an Israeli defender on the bench, looking to make his debut on the team, after joining the club from Israeli club Akhi Nazareth.

An Israeli in a Saudi team?! How can it be? B.Eissa, no. 55, on Al-Ahli’s bench against Al-Wehda (Screenshot)

An Israeli in a Saudi team?! How can it be? B.Eissa, no. 55, on Al-Ahli’s bench against Al-Wehda (Screenshot)

A quick research the BabaGol team has conducted has brought to an interesting case study.

A brief look into Bakr Eissa’s profile showed that the player is indeed an Israeli.

The first Israeli in the Saudi League. A screenshot from Al-Ahli’s Soccerway page.

The first Israeli in the Saudi League. A screenshot from Al-Ahli’s Soccerway page.

Eissa is apparently an Arab Israeli, but according to his resume in Soccerway, he wasn’t quite active in the past three years.

Screenshot of the player’s profile (Soccerway)

Screenshot of the player’s profile (Soccerway)

Bakr Eissa hasn’t played a lot between 2016 to2018 (Screenshot from Soccerway)

Bakr Eissa hasn’t played a lot between 2016 to2018 (Screenshot from Soccerway)

A brief look into Al-Ahli’s squad from that match tells that Bakr is not a defender, but a substitute goalkeeper.

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After a quick check, the BabaGol team has found that Bakr Eissa was indeed a defender who played for Akhi Nazareth from the Israeli second division three years ago, and now plays for the small club Al-Nahada Nazareth in the Israeli fourth division.

 
Bakr Eissa’s profile in the Israeli Association website (IFA)

Bakr Eissa’s profile in the Israeli Association website (IFA)

The Nasrawy Bakr Eissa in an article back in 2015 (Screenshot)

The Nasrawy Bakr Eissa in an article back in 2015 (Screenshot)

In addition, it has been found out that Bakr Eissa is the goalkeeper of Al-Ahli’s youth team, who yesterday made his debut in the first squad. Apparently, a technical mistake by Soccerway has replaced the Israeli Eissa with the Saudi one, and yet, this one could have cause an interesting reaction.

The real Bakr Eissa, goalkeeper of Al-Ahli Jeddah’s youth, who made his debut in the first team squad this Friday (Twitter)

The real Bakr Eissa, goalkeeper of Al-Ahli Jeddah’s youth, who made his debut in the first team squad this Friday (Twitter)