Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Peseiro wins over skeptics

At a press conference, Ahly’s new coach Jose Peseiro helped allay the concerns of his critics, Inas Mazhar was there

Al-Ahram Weekly

On Sunday, the Egyptian media got to know Ahly’s new head coach Jose Peseiro who caused a firestorm of protest after he signed for the club last week.

Everyone wanted to meet the man who, when named to lead Ahly, voted the African club of the century, received huge criticism from the club’s fans and media over his perceived less than successful coaching stints. But the Portuguese won the media over. “I am really impressed with the huge media turnout today. I thank you all for coming. I haven’t seen so many journalists come to a press conference for a team except when I worked for Real Madrid.”

The 55-year-old broke the ice at the press conference held at Ahly club headquarters in Gezira when he responded to a question about how he handled the criticism. “I have no problem with that. It’s normal and it happens all the time with coaches. Not all people agree with you all the time. I have not started yet, so how am I being judged before I start? In time, my work will be noticed.”

He said he had not thought of turning down the job because of the criticism. “I never thought of that. I talked with the president of the club and we agreed on everything and here I am.”

Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Shafi, Ahli’s football supervisor who led Ahly to the Super Cup last week with a 3-2 victory over Zamalek, introduced Peseiro to the media. Abdel-Shafi also announced the assistant technical staff of the new head coach. Sayed Abdel-Hafiz was named football director, Mohamed Abdel-Azim as assistant coach and Tarek Suleiman the goalkeeping coach.

Peseiro did not reveal the details of his contract with Ahly but said that it might not be as lucrative as other offers, especially from the Gulf. “You know how much those clubs pay. They offer tempting contracts. But Ahly is a big name and so I didn’t worry about the contract.” He said he accepted the challenge to lead Ahly, adding he hoped to win as many titles with the club. Peseiro confirmed that his son Vitor was among his assistant technical staff.

He also took the opportunity to answer questions that doubted his football talents as a coach. “I do not understand why my football career or experience is in doubt. You all know the clubs I have trained from my CV,” he said.

Peseiro was assistant coach at Real Madrid for the 2003-2004 season before embarking on a head coaching career at clubs such as Sporting Lisbon, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest and Sporting Braga. He was most recently sacked by Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates in February.

“I’ve worked with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos. Do you think I can’t handle Ahly football players?” Peseiro asked in answer to a question on how he would handle the superstars of Ahly.

“I watched the Super Cup and believe that Ahly is a great team and I liked Ahly as a whole, not any player in particular. I know the popularity of Ahly and the pressure of the fans but I promise to make them happy.”

Peseiro told Al-Ahram Weekly that he has three Portuguese assistants who will be working with him at Ahly. “In addition to Abdel-Azim and Suleiman, I have Alexandre Santos as an assistant coach, Ricardo Dionisio as assistant and fitness coach and the third, Vitor Peseiro, as an analyst.” At the press conference, they stood up when he called out their names.

He said he had sought advice from Ahly’s former coach Manuel Jose, also of Portugal, who had praised Ahly and encouraged him to take the job. “He told me everything about Ahly and how big the team is and that I can win with Ahly. I am sure I will,” Peseiro said.

Jose was the most successful football club coach in Egypt’s history, guiding Ahly to dozens of local and African championships.

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