Monday,23 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1310, (1 - 7 September 2016)
Monday,23 July, 2018
Issue 1310, (1 - 7 September 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Local hire

Egypt’s powerhouse football clubs are turning to Egyptian coaches rather than the usual foreign managers, Marawan Zayed reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

“I’m back home” were the first words said by Hossam Al-Badri when asked about his return to Ahly for a third stint after previously leaving the club two times. Al-Badri replaced the outgoing Martin Jol as the Dutch manager resigned amid fan unrest after a couple of disappointing results in recent months that included losing the final of the Egyptian Cup to arch-rivals Zamalek and bowing out of the African Champions League from the group stage.

Al-Badri is no stranger to Ahly. He was a star defender and spent most of his managerial career in various posts in the club that included two stints as head coach. He knows all about the club and knows that winning titles is all what matters to its millions of fans. Al-Badri himself won many titles as a player and as a coach with the club and wants more of the same now.

Al-Badri stressed the importance of creating mutual trust with his players as well as the fans to be able to move with the club in the right direction. “I want the fans to trust me as this club is my home and the most important thing in my life without a doubt. I’m extremely proud to be back here and really looking forward to next season but I have to stress that this team would never win anything without the backing of our fans that were and still are the 12th player for this club.”

Al-Badri insisted that the current group of players in the club are the best in the country and that he doesn’t need to make more than one or two signings to compete on all fronts and promised that this coming season will be much better than the last when the team recaptured the league title but fell elsewhere.

“The responsibility is huge and the task is definitely not easy but I thoroughly trust the current group of players and I believe we can win every single trophy next season.”

The incoming manager also had a special message for veteran players Hossam Ghali, Emad Meteb, Ahmed Fathi, Walid Suleiman, Abdullah Al- Said and Hossam Ashour. “My next words are directed to the veteran players who’ll play a crucial role in guiding the club towards the right direction with me. Ghali, Meteb, Ashour, Al-Said, Suleiman and Fathi -- I count on each and every one of you more than ever to get our club back on top of the continent. You’re the most important players on the team and the closest to me personally and I demand from you more effort and dedication than at any time before.

“We can only remember together what we did in Rades against Al-Taragi (Esperance of Tunisia) when we won the Champions League in an extraordinary match that can’t be replicated. So let’s get the club back to these days.”

Al-Badri also had a message to the players he has not coached before, in addition to the new signings the club made. “I might not have worked with a large group of players on the current team like Antoi, Saleh Gomaa, Marwan Mohsen, Amr Al-Solia and many others but I want them to know that I trust them as much as I trust the older players. All of them will be given a fair chance to prove they deserve a place in the starting 11 and I don’t care about any issues regarding any of the players before I came. I just care about what’s coming up, so hopefully they’ll all prove their worth to me.”

Al-Badri also rejected the claim that he absconded during his second stint and insisted that everyone at the club knew he was leaving a long time before it happened which was confirmed by the club at the time. “There is no way I’d leave the biggest club in Africa without informing them about it, and they would appoint me again. This is nonsense”.

The final part of the press conference saw Al-Badri present his new staff to the media: Sayed Moawad as assistant manager, Ahmed Ayoub general coach, Sayed Abdel-Hafeez as manager of the team and Tarek Suleiman goalkeeping coach. “We’ll also bring in a non-Egyptian Arab fitness coach. He won’t be a foreigner to avoid language issues between him and the players.

“I chose Sayed Moawad because I know him very well and I know what he can bring to the team from experience in addition to him being very close to the players from his time as a player before retiring. Appointing Sayed also shows everyone that this club never forgets its loyal sons and that any player who gives 100 per cent effort and shows dedication and loyalty to this club will always find a place in the club.

“I promise to build a different team that’ll be able to compete at all fronts next season” is how Al-Badri conclude his press conference.

Fierce rivals Zamalek also announced that Mo’men Suleiman will stay in his position as head coach of the team following some impressive results that saw the club defeat Ahly 3-1 in the final of the domestic cup in addition to qualifying to the semi-finals of the African Champions League. Zamalek president Mortada Mansour opted against bringing in a foreign manager as the team has impressed in recent months.

So, two Egyptian managers of the two biggest football clubs in Egypt, the Arab world and Africa who usually go for foreigners at the helm, will be going head to head next season, each wanting to guide his team to the top of major championships.

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