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Sunday, 12 July 2020

Zamalek's outspoken chairman clips wings of another coach

Hatem Maher , Sunday 22 Nov 2015
Mortada Mansour and Ferreira
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During previous stints in office, Zamalek's chairman Mortada Mansour left no room for any murmurs of discontent, effectively deeming his decisions immune from arguments even when he took things too far.

His executive orders are unchallenged and he doesn't like it when a football coach publicly blames him for any interference in football affairs.

Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco abruptly left Zamalek midway through last season and his successor Jesualdo Ferreira, who led the club to their first domestic double since 1987 last term, followed suit in an equally shocking move on Saturday.

Both cited controversial lawyer Mansour as the main reason for unilaterally terminating their deals with one of Africa's most successful sides, who managed to end an 11-year league drought despite having four coaches in a single season, including a caretaker one who briefly took over following the departure of Pacheco on New Year's day.

"The formation was wrong and all the substitutions were wrong, and we only won because of the efforts of the players. Things were getting out of control until I intervened," Mansour famously said in September after Zamalek defeated Smouha on penalties to reach the Egypt Cup final before winning the competition at the expense of arch rivals Ahly with a 2-0 win in the final.

"I'm the president and I'm the president of the coach. I have every right to intervene and those who don't like that can beat their head against a brick wall.

"If we are out of the competition I will be blamed and if we win the coach is the only one who will be praised."

Mansour can hardly set aside his ego.

He made no secret of his frustration at what he believed was an underestimation of his work following the double triumph, saying the media had only sungthe praises of Ferreira.

He is credited by many for turning around the fortunes of Zamalek though, having spent big over two summer transfer windows to bolster the squad of an underachieving side who had lived in the shadows of illustrious rivals Ahly since 2004.

But his fiery and foul-mouthed rants often land him in hot water, prompting several media channels and Egypt's Journalists Syndicate to boycott any interviews given by the 63-year-old.

"As you know for many months the President is fighting against our staff and trying to interfere in our work," Ferreira said in a message to Zamalek's fans, which he posted in Arabic, English and Portuguese on his Facebook profile.

"I'm very attached to the players and fans and that's the main reason why I renewed my contract, but it's impossible to stay in one club where the President don't want you there and speaking very bad about you behind your back."

Mansour is busy contesting Egypt's parliamentary elections and should he win a seat in the House of Representatives, Ferreira's successor, whoever he is, will hope this could somewhat turn the chairman's attention from football.

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

 
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