Inconsistent Ismaily will be seeking to give new coach Emad Soliman a winning start when they face Gouna in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.
Soliman returned to Ismaily following the dismissal of Mark Wotte, who was shown the door after a string of poor results dealt a serious blow to their hopes of mounting a serious challenge for the league title and dumped them out of the African Confederation Cup.
Although Ismaily did not blossom in Soliman’s previous spell at the helm, which came before the appointment of Dutchman Wotte, they opted to bring him back to lead the team until the end of the season.
“I’m no longer worried about the future of this team, I fully trust Soliman,” the team’s skipper Mohamed Hommos, best known for his goal in Egypt’s stunning 1-0 victory over then world champions Italy in the 2009 Confederations Cup, said.
“Soliman is a very good coach who is capable of turning around Ismaily’s fortunes. We expect a tough game against Gouna because they are very organized.”
The three-time Egyptian champions will have to do without several key players, including influential midfielders Hosni Abd-Rabou, Amr El-Sulaya and Abdullah El-Shahat, who are all injured.
Ismaily lie third in the league table on 31 points, one behind second-placed Ahly and seven adrift of leaders Zamalek.
At the other end of the table, Ittihad of Alexandria will be desperate to overcome Talae El-Geish to ease their relegation worries.
Ittihad, who have a large fan base, are languishing at the bottom of the table with 12 points, four adrift of safety.
They have not won since defeating Haras El-Hodoud 2-0 in October last year.