Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

The would-be managers

It is still unclear who will coach Egypt’s two football powerhouses next season, reports Marawan Zayed

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A few weeks back, Zamalek’s controversial president Mortada Mansour made it clear that the contract of the club’s current manager, Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, will not be renewed beyond this season and that fan favourite Ahmed Hossam, better known as  Mido, will surely take over as soon as the season ends.

However, the relationship between the pair somehow reached a dead end recently after a couple of clashes. First, Mansour blasted Mido and said that he would never be Zamalek’s manager as long as he was the club’s president after Mido supported Zamalek’s former player Ahmed Al-Merghani when the young player attacked the country’s President Abdel-Fattah Al- Sisi on his Facebook account.

Al-Merghani’s club Wadi Degla decided to terminate the contract of the player after the incident, saying that what happened was totally unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Mido, who managed the player during their time at the club, came out supporting Al-Merghani saying that he had every right to express his opinion and blasted Wadi Degla for terminating his contract.

Mansour did not like Mido’s stance and attacked him publicly in one of his interviews, saying that he had changed his mind about appointing Mido at the end of the season and went further by saying that he would never consider him for the position as long as he stays the club’s president.

The second incident that contributed to damaging the pair’s relationship was when Mansour once again publicly stated that he used Mido as a bargaining chip to put pressure on Ferreira who wants to retire from football at the end of the season while the club wants him to stay till the end of his contract. Mansour’s comments did not go down well with Mido who hit back saying he was not a “small name” in Egyptian football to hear such comments and did not want to be Zamalek’s coach as long as Mansour was the club’s president.

Zamalek are on the verge of clinching their first league title since 2004. At the time of writing they led second play Ahly by nine points with just three games left.

As a result of the row, Mido accepted Ismaili’s offer to take over from Tarek Yehia who recently left the club. Ismaili’s first option was Egyptian legend and former Egypt manager Hassan Shehata but the veteran coach turned down their offer saying he was not ready. Accordingly the club turned to Mido who accepted their offer right away saying it was an honour for him to manage a club like Ismaili.

The interesting part is that Mido and Mansour made peace after all the contentious incidents. “I’ll now have to fast for three days after swearing that Mido will never ever work for Zamalek as long as I am president,” Mansour said, meaning it as a form of self-punishment. Mansour changed his stance and said that the club “will always welcome someone like Mido” who he added “loves the club unconditionally”.

However, going by the shared animosity of the two, there will probably be more fireworks to come.

As for now, Ferreira, who needs a single point from their game against Ahly this week to officially win the league, will probably stay on after this season following an amazing season with the White Knights who are scoring and winning games freely.

As for Ahly it is still unclear whether Fathi Mabrouk will stay with the club. Mabrouk got the chance to coach after Spanish manager Carlos Garrido in April was axed, but his chances are reportedly slim of him continuing as the club wants to appoint a foreign manager. Ahly’s former manager Mohamed Youssef agreed to be the new coach of Semouha after the club sacked Helmi Toulan. Semouha is currently playing in the African Champions League and have three points from two games. Youssef said that he wants to win the competition and guide the team to the club World Cup in Japan.


The writer is a freelance journalist.

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