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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Preview: Zamalek hardly affected by merry-go-round as they march towards title

Hatem Maher , Saturday 23 May 2015
Jesualdo Ferreira
Jesualdo Ferreira's short stint with Zamalek is coming to an end (Photo: The club's official Facebook page)
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Zamalek have gone through this season under the guidance of three managers and a caretaker coach and they are expected to change their leadership again sooner rather than later but they still seem impeccable as they chase their first Egyptian Premier League title since 2004.

The Cairo giants will be looking for their seventh straight win they meet lowly Assiouty Sport, who have almost lost any hopes of retaining their top-flight status, on Sunday as they edge closer to an elusive league crown.

In another shock announcement, Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour said on Saturday former Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira will leave the club at the end of the season and "retire from the game", making way for the return of Mido.

Mido, who came through the youth ranks of Zamalek before enjoying a nomadic career in Europe playing for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma, is set to take charge of the club for a second stint.

His first spell was hardly a success as he only managed to lead Zamalek to the Egypt Cup title but they faltered in the last playoff phase of the Premier League and had a poor start to their Champions League group stage campaign.

But Zamalek look totally different this term, with Mansour's heavy spending in the close season bearing fruit.

They started the season with Egypt's all-time leading scorer Hossam Hassan at the helm but he was fired after a disappointing start.

Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco then took over and was acclaimed for steadying the ship but he left the club in an abrupt manner after falling out with Mansour over what he deemed the outspoken lawyer's interference in his work.

It was the turn of caretaker Mohamed Salah to step in and Zamalek continued from where they left off under Pacheco, before Ferreira arrived to lead the team in the remainder of the season in what appears to be a smooth ride towards the title.

Zamalek are on top of the table with 60 points, three ahead of second-placed ENPPI, who played four extra games and are almost out of the title race, and eight clear of third-placed and title holders Ahly who played a game more.

Barring a huge upset, Zamalek should find no difficulty in winning their 12th league title after eight seasons of Ahly domination.

Ahly will be seeking to maintain their slim title hopes when they face relegation-threatened Haras El-Hodoud in a tough clash on Sunday. They will miss winger Walid Soliman and long-term absentees Hussein El-Sayed, Moemen Zakareya and Mahmoud Trezeguet, who were ruled out for the season.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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