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Ahly may experience Egypt's Ghana shock in World Cup: Ex-coach Jose

Former Ahly manager Manuel Jose speaks to FIFA website about his experience with Egyptian side Ahly, expressing serious concerns for the team

Ahram Online, Sunday 24 Nov 2013
Manuel Jose
Manuel Jose (Photo by El-Sayed Abdel Kader)
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Former Ahly manager Manuel Jose expressed worry over the Egyptian side's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup.

"Ahly have a big problem. They play only one time a month, which was also the problem with the national team when they lost 6-1 to Ghana [at FIFA World Cup qualifications]," the 67-year-old Portuguese coach told the FIFA official website Sunday.

The Pharaohs have failed to qualify for their first World Cup since 1990 after losing 7-3 on aggregate against Ghana.

"The players of Ghana [...] play about eight matches a month because they play in Europe. Here the players of the national team play one time a month and now Ahly face the same situation," he added.

Egypt cancelled two successive seasons midway due to security concerns.

In February 2012, the competition was frozen after clashes at the Port Said Stadium left 72 Ahly fans dead. Seventeen months later, another season was cancelled due to security worries after the military ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi amid mass nationwide protests against his rule.

"Another problem Ahly will be facing is that their most important players, their best players, are older. I think Mohamed Abu Treika and Wael Gomaa, who showed how important they are for the team, will finish their careers now that they have won the Champions League," Jose said.

"This is my idea, this is what I feel. I am saying this because I know them very well. But Ahly will be in Morocco because they deserve to be there." 

The Red Devils will open their fifth Club World Cup campaign by playing Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande of China on 14 December.

"Being at the Club World Cup is a big, big honour. It will be fantastic for them, especially as they even won the Champions League playing all their home games apart from the final without fans," he continued.

The winner of a record four CAF Champions League trophies with Ahly, Jose also spoke about his bond with the Egyptian people.

"My relationship with the Egyptian people, not only Ahly fans, is unbelievable. I miss the fans so much, I miss my team, I miss all of Egypt. I have no words to describe what I feel about it. I coached the club eight years. Three times I left and three times I returned," Jose said.

The holder of six Egyptian Premier Leagues, two Egypt Cups and four Super Cups appeared during Ahly's final against South Africa's Orlando Pirates two weeks ago at the Arab Contractors Stadium in Cairo.

"Almost all of them were my players. The coach [Mohamed Youssef] was my assistant. He deserves the Champions League because he is a good coach and a great person.

"With the situation in Egypt, all the people deserve this great victory because they suffer so much in this moment. I think winning the Champions League is good for the ego of people. They need victories," Jose stated.

Ruling out a return to Ahly, the former manager said "No, Egyptians they don't have football now. I am 67 years old; I am going to work, but not here. I think it is not possible because of the political problems," referring to the turmoil gripping the country since Morsi's ouster.

"They don't have regular football and they don't have money. This will also make it difficult for Ahly. A fantastic generation of players is nearing the end of their careers, and the club must start preparing for the future with young players but, without football, it is not possible." Jose concluded.

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