Ahly’s new coach Martin Jol says he did not hesitate to accept a position in "fantastic" Egypt and eyes "good football" and more trophies.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager arrived Monday afternoon at Cairo Airport to restart his coaching career with Egyptian giants Ahly after more than a two-year hiatus.
“The Ahly president spoke to me in London and I told him I was very excited to come to Egypt because it is, for us in Western Europe, a fantastic country,” Jol declared in an interview with Ahly’s TV Channel after his arrival.
“Last year, there was a club phoning me from Egypt but their offer wasn’t appropriate. There was also another club whose name I won't reveal. Recently, the president of Ahly phoned me and it only took me one day to think about his offer,” he added.
The Dutchman is set to lead the Reds for a year-and-a-half, according to Ahly's chairman Mahmoud Taher.
More details about Jol's deal will be announced Tuesday in a press conference.
“I worked before with Egyptian players like Mido, Hossam Ghaly, and Mohamed Zidan and I know them well. I asked my agent and he told me great stories about Ahly,” Jol explained.
“During my spell with Ajax (as a coach) we faced Ahly in a friendly match five years ago and I think it is one of the biggest clubs in the world because people tell me they have 40 or 50 million fans and that is almost unbelievable.
“The team have good players. Football in England is very popular but in Egypt it is almost more popular, so I was excited. I was waiting for this challenge. I could have gone to 20 clubs in the last two years but when the Ahly president called me there was no hesitation.
The former Tottenham and Fulham player replaces Portuguese tactician Jose Peseiro, who left Ahly abruptly to take over at Porto in Portugal last month.
The record holders of seven African Champions League titles and 37 Egyptian Premier League trophies are currently being coached by interim boss Abdel-Aziz "Zizo" Abdel-Shafy.
Jol, 60, is a former coach of many European outfits including Tottenham, Scheveningen, Roda JC, RKC Waalwijk, Hamburger SV, and Ajax. He has been unemployed since he left Fulham in December 2013.
He insisted that he was not at all afraid of having his first coaching experience outside Europe.
“I think that I am a brave man. When I was a player I went to Germany and to England and I played in Holland as a manager, so for me it isn’t unusual to go for a new challenge and since arriving here people have been nice,” the coach said.
Targets at Ahly
Ahly are currently on top of the Egyptian league table with 41 points after playing 19 matches, three ahead of defending champions Zamalek.
Jol will be watching Wednesday’s league match with Petrojet from the stands before starting his mission with the Reds against Maqassa next Saturday.
“It is important for us to win the league title and the African Champions league and I think with the players we have got, hopefully we will be the best in this region,” Jol said about his ambitions with Ahly.
“It is important that we play very good football as well. Ahly is known for playing well and that will be my biggest goal.
“The first thing I saw online was that Ahly won more prizes than any other club, even Barcelona, and it makes me proud to work for a big club like Ahly. The only thing you can do to make the fans happy is to win trophies,” the coach concluded.