Zamalek say won't extend deals of Bencharki, Hamed and Abou-Gabal

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Mar 2022

Zamalek said they won't extend the contracts of Achraf Bencharki, Tarek Hamed and Egyptian international keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal after growing increasingly frustrated with their protracted negotiations with the key trio.

Achraf Bencharki
File photo of Zamalek s Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki (Ahram)

The Cairo giants made the surprise announcement right after Zamalek lost 1-0 at home to Morocco's Wydad on Friday, a defeat which dealt a fatal blow to their hopes of reaching the African Champions League quarters.

Amir Mansour, Zamalek's football supervisor who is also the son of outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour, said the three players were reluctant to pen new deals and that the club could not wait longer.

Moroccan winger Bencharki, midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed and Abou-Gabal are now likely to leave for free in the summer.

Zamalek also said Moroccan winger Mohamed Ounajem, who often plays a bit-part role, won't have his contract prolonged and Tunisian off-form striker Seifeddine Jaziri would be put up for sale. 

"I met with Tarek Hamed and his agent last week and he told me he has a Saudi offer. He asked for some time to make up his mind and he didn't get back to us," Amir Mansour told Egyptian television channel OnSport.

"Abou-Gabal lost his concentration following the Nations Cup and the circulating pictures that we saw of him meeting some football agents were provocative.

"We also ended negotiations with Bencharki, not just because they were not successful but also because of his current below-par performances."

Bencharki, who joined Zamalek from Saudi Arabia's Hilal in the summer of 2019, has been one of the driving forces behind the team's triumphant Egyptian Premier League campaign last season, scoring 15 goals and providing seven assists as they won the title for the first time since 2015.

He also won with the White Knights the domestic cup and the Egyptian and African Super Cups but suffered a dip in form of late, drawing criticism from Zamalek's fans.

Hamed has been one of Zamalek's most consistent performers over the past few years, having played a key role in helping them to two Premier League titles, four Egypt Cups and an African Confederation Cup crown.

His absence in recent matches because of a knee injury left the team badly exposed in midfield as they appeared vulnerable in the face of counter attacks.

Abou-Gabal became Zamalek's first-choice keeper following his impressive displays at the Nations Cup in Cameroon, where he was instrumental in Egypt's progress to the final, but some shaky displays had fans scathing.

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