Preview: Ahly face Wadi Degla amid uncertainty over coach future

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Apr 2013

Ahly's boss Hossam El-Badry is uncertain to continue beyond this season

Hossam El Badry
Ahly coach Hossam El Badry(Photo: Reuters)

Ahly take on Wadi Degla in Thursday's Egyptian Premier League game amid uncertainty over the future of coach Hossam El-Badry.

The defending champions, who are eyeing an eighth consecutive league title, have recovered from a slow start to the season to record three successive wins but recent statements by El-Badry had caused controversy.

El-Badry, who served as an assistant of former Ahly boss and club icon Manuel Jose for several years, led the Red Devils to the African Champions League title last year but implied that he was worried over the direction the club is going this term.

"My ambition is to carry on and maintain the success I had with the team, but that is contingent on the support I should receive [from the board]," the 53-year-old said in a television interview.

"I just want to clarify some things. If the factors of success are not there, it's only natural that I will seek another way," he added in an implicit warning that he could leave at the end of the season.

Ahly had to loan out three influential players last January due to rare financial problems which struck the club following a lengthy stoppage of domestic football, which was enforced following the February 2012 Port Said disaster.

Right-back Ahmed Fathi and forward Mohamed Nagy 'Gedo' joined English second-division side Hull City while veteran playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika moved to Emirati club Bani Yas on short-term loan deals.

Ahly struggled for creativity and efficiency without the trio, but still managed to labor to six victories out of eight games in Group A of a new-look league competition. They are second in the group with 18 points, one behind leaders ENPPI who played two games more.

Thursday's opponents Wadi Degla, on the other hand, are lying at the bottom after a disastrous start to the season, having offloaded more than 10 players in the close season due to mounting financial problems.

Ahly will miss winger Walid Soliman, who has been out of action since December after suffering a knee injury.

The top two in each group will advance to the final round, where a mini-league with only home fixtures will be held to determine the champion. The bottom two in each group will also play each other to determine who would go down.

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