Cash-strapped Zamalek sought to ease their financial woes but ended up receiving a barrage of sarcastic remarks on social networking websites after striking a shirt sponsorship deal with a cleaning equipment company.
Ahram’s Advertising Agency, which was responsible for finding a new sponsor for Zamalek after the club wore a blank t-shirt during the first five Egyptian Premier League games, announced on Tuesday that it had reached a deal with Al Helal Wal Negma company to sponsor the team’s shirt for 6 million Egyptian pounds.
Zamalek’s fans were dismayed by the announcement, contrasting it to high-profile deal arch-rivals Ahly struck with telecommunication company Etisalat in October.
The supporters of Ahly, whose three-year contract with Etisalat is worth LE 135 million, mocked their bitter foes on Facebook and micro-blogging website Twitter.
The sarcasm included posting a doctored photograph which featured a dustman inside Zamalek’s logo as well as videos of the company’s famous television ads in the early 2000s.
“The officials of Ahram’s Advertising agency told us the company’s logo that will be stamped on Zamalek’s shirt will look like the Turkish flag,” the club’s interim chairman Galal Ibrahim said in a television interview.
Reports said that wealthy businessman Mamdouh Abbas, who is expected to reclaim the club’s presidency after his bitter rival Mortada Mansour withdrew the lawsuit he filed against him, has demanded that Ahram Agency annul the contract it signed with the company.
Zamalek’s persistent financial problems have prompted striker Amr Zaki and right wing-back Hazem Emam to file a complaint with the Egyptian Football Association to terminate their deals.
Zaki said he was ready to resolve the dispute but Emam has reportedly agreed a move to a Saudi Arabian club.