Egypt’s two biggest clubs will be guided by Portuguese this season, after former Gil Vicente boss Ricardo Soares was confirmed as new coach of Al Ahly.
Soares has signed a two-year contract with Africa’s most successful club, where he will be in direct competition with veteran Jesualdo Ferreira, who currently leads Al Ahly’s fierce Cairo rivals Zamalek.
47-year-old Soares left Gil Vicente earlier this month after guiding the Barcelos club to an impressive 5th place finish in the Primeira Liga. He takes charge of Al Ahly with the Egyptian season over halfway through and the side currently in 3rd place, albeit with three games in-hand on leaders Zamalek.
Soares moving to one of the most decorated clubs in world football is intriguing enough, but the renowned rivalry with Zamalek now has a Portuguese feel with experienced boss Jesualdo Ferreira having been in charge of Al Ahly’s neighbours since March. Jesualdo has Zamalek top of the Premier League by two points ahead of second-place Pyramids.
Intriguingly, Soares’ new club are seven points behind Zamalek, but have three matches in-hand as the season enters the final third. Soares will be joined at Al Salam Stadium by Portuguese staff Mauricio Vaz, Raul Faria, Pedro Guimarães, Eduard Lobo and Luís Pereira.
Following José Peseiro’s brief stint in charge in 2015-16, Soares becomes the third Portuguese coach to lead Al Ahly, with Manuel José revered among the Red Devils fans for his astonishing success across three spells in charge. Under the former Sporting and Benfica boss, Al Ahly won six Egyptian league titles and a remarkable four African Champions League crowns, earning José the nickname ‘The King’.
By Sean Gillen