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Monday, 24 June 2019

First leg of the final won't ensure Confederation Cup title for Zamalek: Coach Gross

Gross says Zamalek will face a difficult and strong test against Morocco's RS Berkane in the away leg of the African Confederation Cup final Sunday

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 19 May 2019
Coach Gross
File Photo: Coach Gross
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Zamalek will be facing a strong and difficult test against Morocco's RS Berkane in the first leg of the African Confederation Cup final, according to coach Christian Gross who also insisted that Sunday's match won't ensure the title for the Whites.

Zamalek will be hosted by the Moroccan team in Berkane in the first leg of Africa's secondary club competition final, while the return match will be played at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on 26 May.

"The game will be strong and difficult for both teams. We know the atmosphere in Morocco well. I have full confidence in my current group of players," Zamalek coach Gross said in the pre-match press conference Saturday.

"The first leg result can't ensure the title for us. The final still has another stage (the return match next Sunday in Egypt). We will concentrate on the technical and mental levels to achieve a positive result in Morocco," the coach added.

The Cairo giants have not tasted success on the continental stage since defeating Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in the African Super Cup in 2003.

On Sunday, rookie keeper Omar Salah will be Zamalek's only option between the sticks as regular keeper Mahmoud Gennesh is suspended while second-choice goalie Emad El-Sayed is suffering from a serious hand injury.

"Zamalek's goalkeepers coach is preparing all the keepers very well. I have full confidence in Omar. He is a good keeper who has determination to deliver a good game in the final," Gross added.

"I benefited a lot from talking with our Moroccan forward Hamid Ahaddad as he knows a lot about our opponents.

"Using VAR technology (video assistant referee) in the final is very good and useful in such a continental final," he concluded.

Zamalek won the Champions League five times, second only to bitter rivals Ahly who won eight, but have never lifted the trophy of the Confederation Cup. They are making their first appearance in the final.

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