Egyptian league champions Ahly announced the appointment of Swiss tactician Rene Weiler as the club’s new coach.
The 45-year-old takes over from Uruguayan manager Martin Lasarte who was sacked earlier in August after Ahly were ousted from the Egyptian Cup in the 16th round, losing 1-0 to Pyramids FC. Assistant coach Mohamed Youssef had been temporarily in charge.
Lasarte had helped Ahly claw their way back from an eight-point deficit to successfully defend their league title but the effort was not enough to secure his position.
“After choosing from among more than 30 coaches, the football committee settled on five names, including Italian Luciano Spalletti and Brazilian Mano Menezes. But finally Weiler won the race,” the Ahly statement explained.
“The committee chose Weiler for many reasons including his previous achievements and his vast experience beside his personality,” the statement added.
The former FC Zurich defender started his managerial career in 2002, guiding Swiss club FC Winterthur. He was then in charge of Swiss clubs FC St Gallen, FC Schaffhausen and FC Aarau.
Weiler also managed German club FC Nürnberg from 2014 to 2016 before moving to Belgium giants Anderlecht where his managerial career was boosted after winning the 2016/2017 league title and the 2017 Belgium Super Cup title.
Last season, Weiler was in charge of Swiss club FC Luzern.
The new coach’s first challenge will be the encounter with Equatorial Guinea’s Cano Sport in the 32nd round of the CAF Champions League. The first leg will take place on 14 September, and the second will be held in Egypt two weeks later.
“I’m proud to be part of such a big castle as the Red Castle,” Weiler said during his first press conference in Cairo. “I’m sure we’ll reach our goals. I know that will be difficult at first but we will do our best to win more trophies and titles.
“We have to work in the coming period to improve our technique and style and to attack more.”
Weiler will become the first-ever Swiss to take charge of Ahly and the fourth to manage in Egypt in the last 10 years after Alain Geiger (Masri), and Michel Decastel and Christian Gross (Zamalek).
Weiler’s signing comes shortly after Ahly’s arch-rivals Zamalek appointed former Orlando Pirates manager, Milutin Sredojević from Serbia, as the club’s new head coach.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 September, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.