Zamalek’s French coach Patrice Carteron has abruptly terminated his contract with the club, just a few weeks ahead of the club's anticipated clash with Raja Casablanca in the Champions League semis.
Zamalek's TV channel announced on Tuesday that the Frenchman had informed the club that he would pay his USD 250,000-release clause, citing personal reasons for his sudden departure.
The shock news will deal a huge blow to the Whites, whose recent form has fed dreams of the team’s first Champions League title since 2002. They are also in a tight race to secure a top two spot in order to qualify for next season's Champions League.
The 50-year-old coach took charge of the team in December, succeeding Serbian coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic. Carteron had extended his one-year contract with the club for another season in May.
The former TP Mazembe, Raja and Ahly coach made a great impact at the club, helping the White Knights win the African and Egyptian Super Cups in February, and gaining huge popularity in the process.
Under his management, the club beat arch-rivals Ahly twice; in the Super Cup in February on penalties (4-3) and in the league in August 3-1.
The club are set to face Moroccan side Raja for the Champions League semis on a two-legged tie on 18 and 24 October.
Under Carteron’s guidance Zamalek have played 31 matches in all fronts, and have won 19, held nine and garnered three defeats.
Zamalek are now second in the league table with 55 points, 17 points behind leaders Ahly who need two points from the remaining seven games to clinch a fifth successive league title and the 42nd in club history.
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