'I am experienced enough to deal with a compressed game schedule': Ahly new Swiss coach Koller

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 12 Sep 2022

Ahly's Swiss new coach Marcel Koller, 61, assured Red Devils fans that he is experienced enough to deal with a compressed schedule that includes league games and continental commitments, adding that his most immediate task is to improve the players' performance.

Ahly new coach Koller
Ahly new Swis coach Marcel Koller. Al-Ahly Official Page

 

“I am experienced enough to deal with the compressed league schedule." Koller said, in reference to the fact that Ahly players suffered from fatigue and injuries last season for games every 72 hours in the Egyptian Premier League in addition to participating in the African championship.

“I can deal will with the games’ compressed sequence in the Egyptian league and the commitments in the CAF Champions League by giving a rest to exhausted players or those who suffer minor injuries,” he added.

" I am happy to be in charge of the biggest team in Africa who enjoy the support of a big number of fans,” Koller added.

“I am pleased with the quality of the players and I promise to improve their performance during the upcoming training sessions,” he said.

"I am waiting for the fans to support me to achieve my goals for the team,” said the former Austria coach - speaking in German through a translator - in an official press conference on Monday to introduce the new technical staff.

“I dealt with a professional management during contract negotiations," koller said as the club president Mahmoud El-Khatib and top Ahly officials listened on.

"I am happy with the trust I received from the club’s management,” he stressed.

A season to forget

Last week, Ahly announced the naming of Koller as new head coach to replace Portuguese Ricardo Soares, who was dismissed in August after a super brief tenure due to questionable performances and results.

The Red Devils had a season to forget last year, missing on a what would have been a historic-third-in-a-row African Champions League title after losing to Morocco's Wydad in late May before finishing third in the Egyptian Premier League - their worst ranking in the local competition in 30 years. 

“I have gained a good impression about the players after watching some games, and I have ample time to introduce my vision,” said Koller, who has a comfortable five week period to acclammate players to his style in coaching before the start of the new season 2022-2023 on 15 October.

First time outside of the Old Continent

Koller, who is the second Swiss to take charge of Ahly after Rene Weiler (August 2019-September 2020), will lead the Red Devils in their pre-season preparations, with the team expected to hold a training camp in Turkey.

Koller, who started his coaching career in 1997 when he took charge of Swiss second tier side FC will, has never worked outside Europe before taking the Ahly job.

He worked with several Swiss clubs such as ST Gallen, Grasshoppers and Basel as well as German sides FC Koln and Bochum.

Season preparations, big decisions

“I will discuss with the team’s management the schedule of the pre-season preparatory camp after the press conference,” Koller said.

“I need time to determine what will happen with some players in the future regarding who would be released and who we would be signed,” he added.

“Our main target is to win games, but it will be better if we both win and play well at the same time,” koller said.

The new Swiss coach's first official commitment will be a two-legged clash against a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the African Champions League second preliminary round next month.

“I will be happy if more fans attend the games in the stadium to give us a positive push to achieve our targets."

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