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Preview: Zamalek's new coach warns of complacency ahead of El-Geish test

Ahram Online , Saturday 19 Dec 2015
Zamalek
Zamalek celebrate their 2-0 victory over Haras El-Hodoud in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday (Photo: Zamalek's official Facebook page)
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Zamalek are having a fine run five games into the new season and seem favourites to defend the Egyptian Premier League title but new coach Marcos Paqueta warned of complacency ahead of Sunday's game against struggling Talae El-Geish.

The Cairo giants, who ended a long league drought and the eight-season hegemony of arch rivals Ahly after winning the title in style last term, won four out of their opening five matches, drawing once.

They are already four points clear of traditional rivals Ahly, who shockingly suffered two consecutive defeats, but Brazilian Paqueta wants his star-studded side to keep their feet on the ground.

"The league is difficult and my message for the players is that they should look at other results in the table and be aware that big names do not matter; it's all about the amount of effort you put in," Paqueta, who made a winning debut after the club beat Haras El-Hodoud 2-0 on Thursday, said on the club's official Facebook page.

"I appreciate the players' efforts against Hodoud and I will hope they stay focused against El-Geish."

A squad overhaul masterminded by chairman Mortada Mansour has turned around the fortunes of Zamalek, who managed to clinch last year's title despite being led by four coaches, thanks to an abundance of attacking talents at their disposal.

They are hardly affected by the lack of a reliable striker upfront this season, given the loss of form and injury of striker Bassem Morsi, as deep-lying forwards such as in-form Mostafa Fathi, Ayman Hefni and Mahmoud Kahraba usually do the job.

El-Geish have only collected 6 points from seven games and are unlikely to pose a stern challenge to 12-time Egyptian champions Zamalek.

Zamalek are five points adrift of surprise leaders Maqassa but they still have three matches in hand.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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