Ahmed Hossam ‘Mido’, a Zamalek fan favourite who was appointed as coach last January to rebuild an underachieving side, was dismissed on Tuesday despite leading the team to the Egypt Cup title in his first season in charge.
The rookie manager, who played for a host of European clubs in his playing career including English side Tottenham Hotspur and French outfit Marseille, was sacked a few days after Zamalek’s hopes of reaching the African Champions League semis were dealt a huge blow following a 0-0 draw at home to TP Mazembe.
“Board member Ahmed Soliman informed me today that I’m relieved of my duties,” Mido, who took over at Zamalek for his first managerial experience following the sacking of Helmi Toulan, said on his Twitter feed.
Local reports suggested that Egypt’s all-time leading scorer Hossam Hassan, who managed Zamalek from 2009 to 2011 but failed to win any titles, will return to the club for a second stint at the helm.
Mido mainly relied on several youngsters to turn around the fortunes of the ailing Cairo giants but they flattered to deceive in the Egyptian Premier League.
The early signs were promising, with Zamalek displaying an attractive brand of football. However, their lack of spark and imagination was evident and the lack of a cutting edge, with their strikers failing to deliver, took its toll on the team in the crucial stage of the season.
The White Knights failed to end a 10-year league drought after finishing third behind winners and arch-rivals Ahly and surprise package Smouha, with critics blaming Mido for his inability to emerge winner from relatively one of the weakest league competitions in years.
Zamalek did not finish the season empty-handed, however, as they won the Egypt Cup title for the second consecutive season after beating Alexandria-based club Smouha in the final, thanks to a late winner from winger Hazem Emam.
Chairman Mortada Mansour spent big in the close season to bolster the squad, bringing in 16 new players.
Mido, who became the youngest Egyptian coach to win a trophy, hoped he would be able to continue until the end of next season after often complaining of Zamalek’s lack of depth in their squad last term.
However, their goalless draw at home to DR Congo’s TP Mazembe left Zamalek’s hopes of reaching the Champions League semis in tatter and prompted the outspoken Mansour to show him the door.