Reigning champions Zamalek lost in Sunday's African Cup of Cup Winners final, receiving a stunning 23-18 defeat at the hands of Tunisian side Etoile Sportive du Sahel.
Zamalek players, notably stars Ahmed El-Ahmar and Hassan Youssri, appeared out of form due to fatigue after Saturday's exhausting semi-final against Tunisian side Club Africain.
''We played eight games in 11 days, which was very exhausting for our players, whose fitness suffered due to the cancellation of the Egyptian league,'' Zamalek Director Hamada Abdel-Bary told Ahram Online after the final.
The Egyptian League was cancelled following February's Port Said stadium disaster, which left more than 70 dead and hundreds injured.
''Zamalek star Ahmed El-Ahmar played despite his injury, and he underwent some rehabilitation only five hours before the final," Abdel-Bary said.
Etoile players capitalised on Zamalek's fatigue to dominate the game from the outset, ending with a four-goal difference of 14-10.
Zamalek will defend their title of African Cup of Club Champions next October in Morocco.
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