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Zamalek unveil new coach Paqueta, president expands war with local media

Zamalek president threatens players, coaches speaking to Egyptian media, insists the club's coming matches won't be broadcast on TV channels

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 12 Dec 2015
Zamalek new coach Paqueta speaks during a news conference (Photo: Ahmed Hassan/ Ahram Sport)

Egypt champions Zamalek have unveiled their new Brazilian coach, Marcos Paqueta, in a press conference Saturday. Club president Mortada Mansour reiterated at the event an ongoing boycott of local media with new procedures.

"Paqueta has put pen to paper on a one season and a half contract. The coach set to earn $35,000 as a monthly salary," Mansour announced in the press conference at the club headquarters.

"The salary will be increased to $40,000 after the first six months. Also the contract includes a $70,000 release clause," the outspoken lawyer added.

Zamalek settled on Paqueta as new head coach to replace Portuguese tactician Jesualdo Ferreira, who led the club to a domestic double last season before abruptly leaving a few months into the new campaign.

Paqueta led Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal to a domestic treble in 2005, including the coveted league title, before taking charge of the Saudi national team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The Saudi team failed to book a last 16 spot after two defeats by Ukraine and Spain and an exciting draw with Tunisia.

He also won two league titles with Al-Gharafa in Qatar and had another stint in the Gulf country with Al-Rayyan.

The 57-year-old also took charge of Libya for two years before returning to Al-Gharafa in the summer of 2014.

Mansour-local media war continues

Egyptian media have largely refrained from using Mansour's name since he vehemently attacked CBC TV anchor Lamis El-Hadidi in October regarding parliament elections coverage related to his son, Ahmed Mansour, who won a seat representing the Free Egyptians Party.

On Friday, Zamalek said it would boycott local media in support of controversial chairman Mansour after his recent snub by most Egyptian newspapers, television channels and websites.

Zamalek had already decided last month to boycott television channels, but have now extended the blackout to all media.

Aggravating the matter at the Paqueta news conference, Mansour insisted that any coach or player who speaks to Egyptian media will be sacked immediately.

"The board was considering cancelling the press conference due to the ongoing boycott of local media of me, but I want to stress that I have no problem with them," Mansour declared.

"The journalist who won't write my name in his newspaper should leave the press conference immediately," Mansour said.

"Any coach or player who speaks to media in the coming period will be sacked immediately, while the club's matches won't be broadcast on Al-Hayat and TEN TV Channels until they apologise," he added.

Mansour, an outspoken lawyer who is serving a third stint as Zamalek's chairman, is credited by many for turning around the fortunes of the football team, having spent large sums over two summer transfer windows to bolster the squad of an underachieving side who had lived in the shadows of illustrious rivals Ahly since 2004.

But his fiery and foul-mouthed rants often land him in hot water, prompting several media channels and Egypt's Journalists Syndicate to boycott his interviews.

Zamalek's games in the Egyptian Premier League have been suspended due to the players' Olympic commitments. With three matches still in hand, the 12-time Egyptian champions are fifth in the league table with 10 points after four games.

Zamalek will face Haras El-Hodoud on 17 December in their first league game after the restart.

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