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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
African legends: Mahmoud El-Gohary
Peter Law
travels back in time to bring you the heroes of yesteryear

Mahmoud El-Gohary
El-Gohary has a place in Nations Cup history

Egypt have produced a long line of great players, but few have cast such a big shadow over the domestic game as Mahmoud El-Gohary.

He came to prominence as a teenager in 1954, when he joined Al Ahly and quickly held down a first-team place at one of Egypt's leading clubs.

Ahly were the predominant side at the time, and before long their new forward helped the club to four successive championships, as well as the 1956 league and Cup double.

El-Gohary quickly became a crowd favourite and was nicknamed "Little Titch" after Mukhtar El-Titch, an Ahly forward of renown.

Both a scorer and creator of goals, he was just out of his teens when he was called into the national side for the 1959 Nations Cup in Cairo.

His biggest coaching achievement was in leading the Pharaohs to the 1990 World Cup

His three goals made him the tournament's top scorer.

Injury forced him to call time on his career, after an unsuccesful campaign with the national team at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

But as one door closed, another opened. El-Gohary was offered the post of assistant trainer at Ahly.

He was also called into the army, where he progressed to the rank of Colonel before returning to football in 1977.

After a five-year spell at Ittihad Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the former striker returned to Cairo in 1982 to take charge at Ahly.

It was a move that bore instant dividends, as the club won the domestic league title and the African Champions Cup, now known as the Champions League.

Now a man in demand, El-Gohary went back to Ittihad Jeddah for a second spell before being appointed Egyptian coach in 1988.

Leading the Pharaohs to the 1990 World Cup in Italy was a major achievement, as they had not qualified for the tournament since 1934.

But a disappointing showing at the 1992 Nations Cup in Senegal led to El-Gohary's removal as national coach.

In a subsequent move that stunned Egyptian football, he joined Ahly's bitter rivals Zamalek and led them to a Champions Cup and African Super Cup double.

Not long after, he was re-hired as national coach and led Egypt to the 1998 Nations Cup finals in Burkina Faso.

Egypt's 1998 Nations Cup winning team
Gohary led Egypt to the 1998 Nations Cup title

Having defeated holders South Africa convincingly in the final, he took quiet satisfaction on a job well done, becoming the only man to win the Nations Cup as both player and coach.

El-Gohary continued with Egypt until the 1999 Confederations Cup when he stepped down after a humbling 5-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.

But within months he was back for his fourth spell with Egypt, leading the side through the qualifiers for World Cup 2002.

Senegal's progress thwarted Egyptian dreams of going to the Far East and El Gohary left to take a new challenge with Jordan.

In his playing days he shared the dressing-room with some big players and as a trainer he launched many careers. But El-Gohary, now in his 60s, is not finished with football just yet.

African legends: Jules Bocande
11 Jul 03  |  African

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