Former Zamalek coach Hossam Hassan (Photo: Ahram)
Hossam Hassan, Egypt's all-time leading scorer and the former coach of Zamalek, will have a point to prove when he makes his debut as Ittihad of Alexandria coach in Thursday's Egyptian Premier League game against the White Knights.
The bald-headed boss, who steered Zamalek to several major titles as a prolific goal-scorer in the early 2000s, was abruptly dismissed early this month after just six matches in charge, with controversial chairman Mortada Mansour losing faith with him following two successive 0-0 league draws.
The debut of his successor, Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco, also ended in a goalless draw with Wadi Degla but Zamalek finally snapped the winless run when two stoppage-time goals by Bassem Morsi and Moemen Zakareya handed them a much-needed victory over Smouha.
Hassan will be keen to exact revenge on Zamalek in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria when he leads them for the first time, having played for the coastal club in the twilight of his career.
"I will take full responsibility for any outcome of the Ittihad game against Zamalek although I had limited time to prepare my side," Hassan, who scored 72 goals in 176 appearances with the Egyptian national team, told football website FilGoal.com.
"I trust my players that they will not let me down against Zamalek."
Should Zamalek defeat Ittihad, they will be just two points short of leaders Haras El-Hodoud.
They will have to do without playmaker Ayman Hefni, who is suspended after collecting three yellow cards. Hefni has been one of Zamalek's key players since his close-season arrival, thanks to his mazy runs and deft through passes.
Striker Morsi might be included in the starting line-up following his substitute appearance against Smouha, having finally found the net after fellow strikers looked misfiring in three consecutive games.
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