Shehata named Zamalek coach following Hassan's surprise dismissal

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 13 Jul 2011

Zamalek surprisingly opt against renewing the contract coach Hossam Hassan, appointing Hassan Shehata as his successor in the early hours of Wednesday

Hassan Shehata
Hassan Shehata is the new coach of Cairo giants Zamalek

Zamalek appointed former Egypt coach Hassan Shehata as their new manager early on Wednesday after surprisingly dismissing Hossam Hassan, who was widely expected to stay put despite a trophy-less season.

In a brief announcement, the Cairo giants said Shehata would be in charge of the first team for next season.

"Zamalek's board of directors has decided to appoint Shehata as the first team's head coach. He will choose his assistants to lead the team next season," the club said in a statement on their official website.

"Chairman Galal Ibrahim has thanked Hossam Hassan and (his twin brother and football director) Ibrahim Hassan for the efforts they have exerted with the team. The club wish them best of luck for their coaching career."

Zamalek's announcement comes just four days after they said Hassan would pen a two-year contract extension although  the team failed to end an Egyptian Premier League drought stretching back to 2004 after finishing runners up to champions and bitter rivals Ahly.

Hassan was criticized by local media for his notorious remarks but was praised for turning around the fortunes of Zamalek, who risked the unthinkable prospect of being relegated to the second division prior to his arrival in November 2009.

He guided Zamalek to a second-place league finish behind Ahly in 2010 and the White Knights looked on course to win the title this season, only to suffer a dip in form in the latter stages.

Zamalek enjoyed a six-point lead over Ahly at the halfway stage but a series of poor displays and results in the second half of the season allowed the Red Devils to overtake them and clinch a seventh consecutive title with one match to spare.

Hassan complained that Zamalek lacked the financial strength and squad depth that could enable them to end Ahly's domestic dominance, revealing that he asked the club's board to recruit high-profile players this summer.

But Egypt's all-time leading scorer, whose Zamalek side failed to go beyond the African Champions League preliminary rounds following a defeat against Tunisian outfit Club Africain, would not have time to fulfill his objective of winning a trophy with the success-starved club.

Zamalek icon

Zamalek fans could not have hoped for a better replacement, given the caliber of highly-successful manager Shehata.

The 64-year-old, a Zamalek icon, is considered one of the team's best ever footballers after spending his entire career with the club, apart from a brief spell with Kuwaiti side Kazma.

His managerial career has been equally brilliant as he guided Egypt to three consecutive African Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010, an unprecedented feat in the continent.

He was sacked by the Pharaohs following their failure to reach the 2012 Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Reports linked him with African heavyweights Cameroon and Egyptian coastal club Ismaily but he eventually opted to take charge of boyhood club Zamalek for the first time since beginning his managerial career.

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