File photo of Zamalek's former coach Mido (Ahram)
Wadi Degla's newly-appointed coach Mido will have something to prove when his side face Cairo giants Zamalek, his boyhood club, in the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday.
Mido, who started his playing career with Zamalek before spending more than 10 years in European football, took charge of the White Knights for two spells.
His first stint in charge saw him lead the club to the Egypt Cup triumph in 2014 but he left after they failed to pip arch rivals Ahly to the league title.
His second tenure last season was shorter, having been dismissed last February following two successive league defeats that included a 2-0 Cairo derby reverse against Ahly.
"My first stint with Zamalek in 2014 was very successful. We managed to introduce a new generation and build a fresh team that still collects titles. We also won the Egypt Cup in a difficult time," Mido said in a recent interview with Ahram Online.
Mido’s first three matches in charge of Wadi Degla saw them draw 1-1 with Smouha, claim a thrilling 4-3 victory over ENPPI after a last-gasp goal and lose 1-0 to Masry.
Title chasers Zamalek, on the other hand, gave new coach Mohamed Salah his first win by crushing Arab Contractors 3-0 on Saturday, having been held to a 0-0 draw by Ismaily in their first game under Moemen Soliman’s successor.
Zamalek lie sixth in the table with 17 points, 12 behind leaders Ahly but with four matches in hand. Degla are ninth on 15 points.
On Tuesday, Zamalek will still be without talented winger Mostafa Fathi as he is expected to be out until the end of the year due to a knee injury he picked up early this month.
Playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim, who has just returned from a lengthy layoff due to injury, was left out by Salah for technical reasons.
On the other hand, Degla’s veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary, who has made some costly blunders in recent games despite his impressive form with the Egyptian national team, will not be available after being given a 10-day rest by Mido.
"I would like to thank my players for understanding my strategy quickly and for their determination to deliver and get their team back on track," Mido told Ahram Online.
"Results (including against Zamalek) are not important for me now until the coming international break in January. What matters most now is making sure the players adapt to my strategy. It’s also important to depend on youth players in the coming period," he added.
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