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Ahly chairman promises trophies next season following protest by fans

Ahly fans gathered by the hundreds at the club's headquarters to protest Peseiro's appointment

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 12 Oct 2015
Mahmoud Taher
Ahly president Mahmoud Taher (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Ahly chairman Mahmoud Taher asked fans during a Sunday television programme to be patient as he works to unify the old players with the newly signed in order to start winning trophies again.

Following a trophy-less season, Ahly management axed coach Fathi Mabrouk and appointed Abdel-Aziz "Zizo" Abdel-Shafi as a caretaker manager. They later announced the signing of Portuguese Jose Vitor dos Santos Peseiro.

Hundreds of the Cairo giants' fans gathered before the club's headquarters to demand that the team's management board, headed by Taher, retract its decision or announce its resignation, with demonstrators chanting "leave, Taher".

Some Ahly fans have expressed their disapproval of appointing the new coach due to his perceived soft-handed approach and his lack of titles.

Many fans also feel that the current board is not capable enough to retain the team's glory, as the team has seen several problems since the board's election, with the naming of three coaches in one season with no achievements.

The Ahly chairman appeared in a television programme on Sunday to defend his decisions and to address the fans attitude towards the current board as he mentioned more topics and promised to be resolved next season.

Taher confirmed that, “there are technical problems in the football team, so we appointed caretaker coach Abdel-Aziz ‘Zizo’ Abdel-Shafi and he will be responsible for the football section in the club.”

"We don't deny that there are problems in the football team. The last football director Alaa Abdel-Sadek did his best to resolve it, but bad luck offset his efforts," Taher said during the television interview.

"We know exactly what the problem is, so we appointed the club's icon Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Sahfi to be responsible for the football affairs.

"The problem is that Ahly have more talented and young players along with newly signed players we brought in for the new season. They need to be led by a strong coach who will improve harmony with team.

"The technical staff who didn't achieve our targets will be sacked and we will sign new ones.

"We listen carefully to the fans anger, as we are angry as well.”

New Football Committee

After Ahly squandered all opportunities to save their faltering season, after losing the domestic league and cup titles to Zamalek as well as leaving the CAF Confederation Cup's semifinals, the management decided to appoint a new Football Committee.

The club's marketing official, Haitham Orabi, who helped the team rebuild their squad this summer, resigned from his post after Peseiro's appointment. Football Committee member and team icon Walid Salah El-Din resigned from his post as a result of last season’s failure.

Ahly's newly appointed spokesman Adly El-Qayei also refused to take up his post with the team.

"There will be big changes in the football section as we are working to bring a foreign football advisor to help the new coach and football director to rebuild the team again," Taher said.

"We will contact the team's icons like Taha Ismail and Anwar Salama to help the team escape the current unrest.

"We are doing our best to build a history for the team since Ahly is a big foundation,

"We face huge opposition from some Ahly sons, as if we are a weak board that requires their advice.”

Manuel Jose return saga

Ahly have excluded Portugal's Manuel Jose from the race to become coach as they search for a young manager to help the club build a new team.

Most Ahly fans and Football Committee members asked the management to sign Manuel Jose again as he led Ahly to a series of trophies during three spells, including six CAF Champions League titles, four CAF Super Cups, six Egyptian Premier League titles, two Egyptian Cups, and four Super Cups. He also led Ahly to finish third in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup.

"Some people inside the team will benefit from Jose's arrival.

"We respect his history with the team but he also failed outside Egypt when he coached Saudi's Ittihad Jeddah, Angola’s national team, and Iran.

"Jose was in charge of unrepeated squad in Ahly and the players achieved three African Cup of Nations titles for Egypt.

"Are fans and club members the ones who choose the team's coach?" Taher asked during the television interview.

"It's shame to build Ahly's fate on a tactician. It is Ahly who make coaches, not the other way around.

"If anyone is sure that Manuel Jose will succeed with the team, I will bring him back."

New coach Peseiro's arrival

Ahly announced the signing of Portuguese Jose Vitor dos Santos Peseiro as Ahly's new head coach who will be in charge of the team after the Egypt Super Cup game against Zamalek.

"We signed a big coach to win next season’s trophies," Taher said.

Egypt’s most successful club, Ahly, have filed a list of coach candidates, none of them Egyptian, to take over as manager following the sacking of Fathi Mabrouk. The list includes Portuguese Peseiro.

"We discussed 50 coaches' CVs and found Peseiro is best man for the job right now.

"We have good criteria for choosing the new manager including experience, results, personal character, achievements and his experience with the Arabian and African teams."

One day after announcing Portuguese Jose Vitor dos Santos Peseiro as Ahly's new head coach, hundreds of the Cairo giants' fans gathered before the club's headquarter in protest, demanding that the team's management board retract its decision or announce its resignation.

The need for a strong personality to control the star-studded Ahly squad and restore order to the team has been a matter of major debate between fans on social media.

Peseiro's most notable achievement came in 2005 when he led Portuguese giants Sporting to the Europa League final before losing the title to CSKA Moscow.

Ahly fans have been posting videos online showing Peseiro's losses in an effort to derail his appointment, while also calling for the appointment of his countryman, Manuel Jose.

"Peseiro is a very good coach. The current information circulating about him in the media is only from Wikipedia and it's not true."

Peseiro, who failed to take Saudi Arabia to the 2010 World Cup finals, was among several candidates to take the Ahly hot seat before the club confirmed that he will not be appointed manager following the dismissal of Fathi Mabrouk.

Mourinho contact

The Ahly chairman revealed that he was working on hiring a new tactician for the football team whatever happened with the team in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Taher contacted Chelsea Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho and asked his opinion about signing his countryman Peseiro before finalizing the deal with him.

"Mourinho told me that Peseiro is better that Manuel Jose," Taher said during the television interview.

"It's expected that Mourinho himself will announce it after the official signing."

Taher defends Ultras

Ahly's hardcore fans - Ultras Ahlawy – went to the team's headquarters on Sunday, during the football team’s training for the Super Cup game against Zamalek, demanding that the management be responsible by saving the team or leaving their post.

"There were young fans chanting ‘Leave Taher’ on Saturday. They don’t have the right to say that, since it's the general assembly’s duty."

"The true Ahly fans came forward on Sunday and sent us their message from the stadium.

"We don't agree with abusive chants, but we accept critics, so we allowed fans to attend in club's stadium.

"Fans have the right to be angry and we are even angrier than they are.

"I always open doors for all fans, and they didn't insult Zamalek chairman or the country's foundations as was reported."

The Red Devils have appointed caretaker coach Abdel-Shafi to replace Fathi Mabrouk in leading the team during the Egypt Super Cup game against Zamalek on Thursday.

Mabrouk succeeded Spanish coach Juan Carlos Garrido in May but was sacked after failing to bring Ahly any major trophy.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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