Clouds hang over Zamalek’s new squad amid financial crisis

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 12 Jul 2011

Zamalek’s technical staff to sit down with the board to discuss potential close-season recruits and the future of some stars amid uncertainty over the club’s financial position

Ibrahim Hassan
Zamalek football director, Ibrahim Hassan

Zamalek technical staff are to hold a meeting with the board on Tuesday night to discuss transfer plans for next season as well as attempts to convince stars to stay put despite the club’s financial problems.

“No news about transfers at the moment.  We will discuss the squad’s future and the players we want to sign in a meeting with the board of directors tonight,” football director Ibrahim Hassan told Ahram Online.

Zamalek, who finished runners-up to champions and arch-rivals Ahly in the Egyptian Premier League, risk losing some key players due to their mounting financial difficulties which threaten to disrupt their preparations for next season.

The White Knights have struggled to pay their players since wealthy businessman and former chairman Mamdouh Abbas left office. Galal Ibrahim is currently leading an interim board, which was criticised for failing to generate revenue for the club.

Uncertain Future                                            

The likes of Qatari winger Hussein Yasser, left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy and star winger Mahmoud Abdel-Razek ‘Shikabala’ are facing an uncertain future.

“I was promised a salary raise. I would leave Zamalek if the club did not live up to its promise. I have received many offers lately,” said Yasser, who produced some superb displays lately.

Abdel-Shafy, one of Zamalek’s most consistent performers, also complained that the club still owe him money.

“I have only received 60 per cent of my dues. I’m thinking about leaving the club if that problem is not solved.”

Shikabala, who finished as the league’s top scorer with 13 goals, was also linked with a move away from Zamalek but the club said they have now tied him down to a new four-year contract.

According to the new deal, Shikabala, who reports said had already agreed to join Saudi Arabia’s El-Shabab, would receive LE5.6 million per season.

Zamalek’s expected exodus of players could also include holding midfielder Ibrahim Salah, right winger Ahmed Samir and strikers Ahmed Hossam ‘Mido’ and Amr Zaki, according to widespread reports.

“The technical staff have nothing to do with financial issues but we hope that they will not cause us a problem,” former Ahly and Zamalek right-back Hassan added.

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