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Mido: Professionalism from an unlikely source


Newly-appointed manager, Mido, reveals Zamalek’s new professional approach.

To say that former Egyptian footballer Ahmed Hossam, commonly known as Mido, had a career without controversy would by any measure be a stretch of the truth.

Just ask any one of his 11 clubs over his relatively short career. Mido was no stranger to violent conduct charges on the field, club fines for failing to report to training, and not least of all falling-outs with famous managers, including Dutch coaches Ronald Koeman and Martin Jol at Ajax and Tottenham respectively.

Although players’ careers are not always as smooth as one might hope, fans of Mido’s former clubs would certainly say that his standard of professionalism was below par. Many had high hopes for the Egyptian international, but they remained just that.

2013 began a new chapter in Mido’s life however.

Following his premature retirement at the age of 30, Mido became the newly appointed coach of one of Egypt’s most historically decorated football clubs – Zamalek.  The White Knights, as they’re commonly referred to, has endured a turbulent recent history marked with financial difficulties and managerial instability.

In spite of that, Mido hopes to uncharacteristically bring a source of stability and professionalism to the Club.

In an interview on El Youm’s Amr Adeeb, Mido seems to understand the need for structure. Asked why Ahly, Zamalek’s direct rivals and the most successful club in African football, has been a more successful club, Mido answered:

“They’ve had a system in place – structure, for 30 years.”

“It’s always risky bringing in a young coach but thank God people started seeing from the very first day we started working that there’s a new style in place. I brought in a completely new system, new tactics and new training methods and I thought it would take around 1-1½ months but the players have adapted well.”

He shares his hopes to personify elements of professionalism from his vast European experience:

“I took a bit from every coach that I played for and every country I was in. I was always asking the coach: ‘Why did you do this?’ for on-field and off-field matters.”

“Zamalek is trying to bring in suits and ties for the players. We’re trying to get a team bus with club legends and sponsors on them and get us 2-million pounds per year.”

Even when drawn on transfer speculation Mido responded confidently:

I like all my players and I’m very happy with them. If there was one player I could bring in, it would be Cristiano Ronaldo,” he joked.

“Anyone who doesn’t want to play for Zamalek, and wants to play for Ahly instead, I will drive them to the front door of their club. And then I will bring up other players through the club and I will win. Zamalek doesn’t wait on players.”

To add more structure to discipline, Mido reinforced his desire for organization within the club:

“If anyone comes to me and tells me what to do, or how to do it- or even if someone says ‘Let’s bring in this player’, immediately, I would say ‘I’m leaving. Goodbye.”

Mido’s desire for professionalism and structure as the foundation of the Club can certainly only be a positive for the future. However, the new rigid discipline desired at the Club cannot come at the cost of an arrogant attitude from the new manager.

“I’m the youngest coach in the world right now,” Mido said with a hint of pride.

It would only be fair to remind Mido however that he has achieved absolutely nothing yet, except a playing career which left a lot to be desired by many.

His international and European experience will certainly prove to be an asset as he hopes to carry the club through a pattern of progression. Zamalek fans will hope that his philosophy, along with his tenure with the club, will last successfully.

Michael Saad is an Egyptian-Canadian living in Toronto. A lifelong supporter of Zamalek through family inheritance, he covers the White Knights on KingFut and monitors the progression of the Egyptian national team carefully. Outside of Egyptian football, he is a passionate Arsenal and Toronto FC fan.

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