Zamalek’s management is currently in no hurry to hire a new coach, as three new candidates are up for consideration after the club’s Portuguese former coach Jesualdo Ferreira turned down the position.
“Ferreira declined taking charge of Zamalek. He told us in a respectful way that his assistants are in different countries and that he would welcome taking the helm, but from the start of the new season,” club head Mortada Mansour told Sada El-Balad TV channel on Monday night.
“I told the committee that works on choosing the new coach that we are not in a hurry, and I say the same fact to Zamalek fans,” Mansour added.
The recent sudden departure of French tactician Patrice Carteron sent shockwaves in the White camp, coming just a few weeks before the clash against Moroccan side Raja Casablanca in the African Champions League semis in mid-October.
The Zamalek board made a logical choice to hire an experienced coach in African football and who had previous experience with the club to maintain their chances of winning their first African Champions League title since 2002.
Swiss tactician Christian Gross, who led the team to the Confederation Cup title in 2019, came on top amid three other Portuguese coaches: Jesualdo Ferreira, Jaime Pacheco, and Jorvan Vieira.
The latest name to arise among the candidates is Argentinean Gabriel Calderon, who has never coached in the African continent but has a rich experience in coaching in the Arabian Gulf. Calderon led the Saudi Arabia national team, Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates’ Baniyas, in addition to coaching the national teams of Oman and Bahrain.
The 74-year-old Ferreira was a prime candidate for the Zamalek job before announcing that he was turning down the offer for personal and familiar reasons late on Monday.
“To the Zamalek fantastic fans: I am really happy and proud about Zamalek’s invitation to lead the team again,” Ferreira said via his Instagram account on Monday night.
“Unfortunately, for personal and familiar reasons, I cannot accept this new challenge at such an important moment for the club. As a fan, I wish the best of luck for the team and hope for you to be African Champions! You will always be in my heart,” said the coach, who had a successful spell with the team, leading them to the domestic double in 2015 for the first time since 1988, but quit the team following differences with Mansour.
Three new candidates
After Ferreira’s withdrawal, the Cairo giants are now choosing between six candidates, according the club’s chairman.
“I saw the financial demands of Pacheco, Calderon and the Italian coach, and I told the committee not to be in a hurry. There are three other coaches who joined the candidates list and they are all with respectable careers,” the president added, without disclosing further details.
Egyptian media reported that the 50-year-old Paolo Tramezzani, the former coach of APOEL, Livorno and FC Sion, is the Italian candidate for the job.
At the domestic level, Zamalek currently lie second on the league table with 55 points from 28 matches, 18 behind recently crowned champions and arch rivals Ahly.
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