Ahli’s thumping defeat to Harras Hodoud sparked anger among the Reds fans, not just because it is the heaviest in years, but also as it caps a series of poor displays by the team.
The African champions have been far from impressive since the start of the season on all areas of the field and fans are no longer buying the excuse of ‘missing key players’.
So what’s the solution? Shall Ahli sack the manager in the middle of the season or is it better to make some amendments while keeping him in charge?
Those who are calling for an immediate decision to sack Al-Badri because of the poor performance do have a point, but let’s do a more sensible analysis to this case.
In terms of finance, Ahli currently have no option to hire a decent overseas manager, not to mention that Egypt’s present status can hardly encourage a high-profile foreigner to come in.
So this leaves us with the option of hiring an Egyptian. A choice that would be far from certain amid the unstable condition of the depleted Ahli squad in the meantime.
Ahli fans would never accept it if a new manager came to ‘promise no trophy this season’ just like Manuel Jose used to do when he was twice recalled to ‘rescue the team’.
This would certainly drag the Cairo giants into the dilemma of changing coaches, resulting in major instability that would see them lose more trophies.
Mourinho and Jose
Let’s recall a couple of incidents that took place in Europe and in Egypt during the past few years.
The first was when Real Madrid sacked Bernd Schuster a few months after he guided the team to the Liga title in 2008.
The consequences were anything but positive for the ‘Real Galacticos’, who struggled to get near the podium for several years until Jose Mourinho came to stamp his mark only a year ago.
The point is that Real have learnt their lesson when they decided to hold on to Mourinho despite a humiliating 5-0 Clasico defeat in his first season at the Benanbeu.
The Real board realized the fatal mistake of firing a manager during the season, until the Portuguese guided the club to the Copa del Rey followed by the Liga title.
Ahli experienced a similar scenario with Mourinho’s compatriot Jose when the team was thrashed 3-0 by Ismaili in Cairo in 2007, before ‘the Magician’ went on to guide the Reds to a torrent of trophies.
That said, there has certainly been times when changing a manager midway through the season proved successful, but this would require special circumstances, time to rebuild the squad and a transition period that would rarely put the team back on track in a short time span.
The bottom line
It is obvious that Ahli are struggling with shortage of personnel in all areas of the filed; a setback that the manager would basically shoulder alone.
In the holding midfielder position, the injury of Hossam Ghaly left a huge gap that was even worsened with the absence of Hossam Ashour and Shehab Ahmed against Hodoud.
On the flanks, Ahmed Shedid – who is already deputizing for the injured Sayed Moawad – has been playing through injury and has no replacement on the left.
While on the other side, Ahmed Fathi’s exit was followed by the injury of his deputy Ahmed Sedik, forcing Al-Badri to deploy center-half Sherif Abdul-Fadil as right-back.
Ahli need some tactical alterations, which makes it illogical to stick with the same formation amid the absence of some eight key players for different reasons.
Al-Badri should rely more on youngsters instead of using out-of-position seniors, resulting in total loss.