Moamen Soliman, coach of Zamalek (REUTERS)
Zamalek's interim coach Moemen Soliman feared players and club staff would not recognise him after he became a surprise appointment little more than 10 days ago, but an Egypt Cup triumph at the expense of arch-rivals Ahly will put him under a rare spotlight.
A mediocre Zamalek player in the 1990s, Soliman became a stop-gap coach following the sacking of Mohamed Helmi late in July, tasked with restoring confidence in a side that lost the league title to Ahly.
His debut saw Zamalek crush Ismaily 4-0 in the domestic cup semi-final before a double from Bassem Morsi gave the team a fourth straight title following a 3-1 win over Ahly at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on Monday.
"I only took charge of Zamalek two weeks ago, and I was worried the players would not recognise me when I led the first training session," Soliman said in a pitch-side interview following the game.
"I also once forgot the club's entry card and I thought the security personnel would not even know who I am. But thankfully, this triumph came and we should not get too complacent as we have another job to do."
Zamalek are also seeking to win the African Champions League for the first time since 2002 and they host Nigeria's Enyimba in a do-or-die clash in their final group-stage game on Sunday. A draw will be enough to lift them to the last four for the first time in 11 years.
"We are turning our attention to the Champions League, and we have many things ahead of us. My future is in the hands of the board of directors," Soliman added.
Zamalek said recently they were looking for a foreign coach to lead the team. It remains to be seen whether they would have a change of heart following Monday's cup triumph.
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