Preview: Zamalek's league hopes in do-or-die situation against Beni Suef Telephones

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 4 May 2014

Beni Suef Telephones will fight to avoid relegation when they host Zamalek, whose Egyptian league title hopes are in doubt

Zamalek players celebrate after scoring a goal against derby rivals Al Ahly during their CAF Champions League soccer match at El-Gouna stadium in Hurghada, about 464 km (288 miles) from the capital Cairo July 24, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Zamalek will be in a must-win situation when they are hosted by Beni Suef Telephones in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.

Zamalek's League title hopes were dealt a significant blow after suffering a 1-0 away loss to Group B rivals Ismaily on Friday.

The loss left the Cairo giants fourth in the Group B table with 28 points, two behind second-placed Ismaily and five adrift of leaders Petrojet, who've played a game more.

The Whites have to fight and win all their remaining three matches to successfully continue their campaign towards the mini-league.

The winners and runners-up in both Groups A and B will qualify for the mini-league to decide the league champion.

Besides their poor league run, Saturday's sudden resignation of rookie coach Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' came as new blow for the team.

Despite being given a vote of confidence by the club's board following Friday's loss, Mido announced his resignation – only to reverse his sudden decision a few hours later.

"Out of respect to the club and its fans, I'm announcing that I will not resign," the 31-year-old told Egyptian football website

"I will not leave unless the club decides I should. But I just want the fans to understand that I do not have the best players in the world and that I took charge of the team after the season had already started."

Unity the key to chase league, Champions league titles

Although Mido was credited with helping Zamalek play an attractive brand of attacking football shortly after replacing Helmi Toulan as the team's coach last January, their recent inconsistent displays have cast doubts over their title credentials.

They've lost twice in their last four games, including the defeat by Ismaily which jeopardised their chance of advancing to the final four-team mini-league phase.

"I apologise for the fans and the club board for the resignation decision," Mido told the club's official website after a meeting with the club president later on Saturday.

"We're playing under many different kinds of pressure and we need unity to successfully continue our league and Champions league campaigns.

"Zamalek needs new, experienced players. My dream is to build a new team for the future that is capable for restoring the clubs' glories. I would like to thank the fans for supporting me," said the former Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax and Roma player, who enjoys overwhelming support among the White Knight's die-hard supporters – even though he is burdened with ending the team's 10-year league drought.

Beni Suef Telephones to block Zamalek mission

Zamalek will be boosted by the return of striker Ahmed Gaafar and midfielder Islam Awad, while both midfielders Nour El-Sayed and Dominique da Silva were not included in the squad for technical reasons.

Despite lying seventh in the group table with 21 points, Beni Suef Telephones will not be an easy opponent for Zamalek.

"We will not let the match's three points go to Zamalek. Winning the game will be our target as it will make us closer to remaining in the competition," Beni Suef Telephones coach Ehab Galal told Reuters.

"We respect Zamalek as it is a big team, but we are all determined to get the best result of the match," he added.

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