Ahly’s new coach Fathi Mabrouk believes they can still win the league title, despite being 11 points behind leaders Zamalek.
“The competition for the league title is still ongoing. Ahly still have a chance to recover and close the gap on leaders Zamalek and that has happened often in the past,” Mabrouk said in TV comments late on Monday.
On Monday night, Ahly announced the appointment of Mabrouk as new coach, replacing sacked manager Juan Carlos Garrido.
Garrido lost his job following the Red Devils’ Saturday exit from the CAF Champions League round of 16, after losing 4-3 on penalties to Moghreb Tetouan of Morocco.
Ahly’s hopes of equalling their own record of winning the league title nine times in a row looks unlikely as they are currently third in the table with 46 points, 11 points behind leaders and archrivals Zamalek.
“My return to coach Ahly was a surprise but this time will be different as I have the full support to build a new squad,” explained Mabrouk.
“Ahly have a better squad than the one that worked with me last season. We have the needed circumstances to deliver outstanding performances.
“I have a good relationship with all the players and the ones who deliver their best in training will have a place in the starting lineup,” the new Red Devils boss added.
Mabrouk, who was Ahly’s youth team manager, was caretaker coach on several occasions at Egypt’s most decorated outfit.
In 2003, he was appointed interim manager to replace Portugal’s Toni Olivera, a decision that was made due to the team’s dip in form at the time.
Mabrouk also took the helm of Ahly late last season to help them win the Egyptian Premier League title. He took charge after the sacking of coach Mohamed Youssef.
Mabrouk will have an easy test on Wednesday when Ahly face Rocky El-Nasr in a league game.
“I want to thank Ahly supporters for their confidence in me. I hope we return to winning ways soon,” concluded Mabrouk, referring to the calls of the club’s fans to appoint him in the last few days.