Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, right, battles with Mohamed Shaaban, left. (Photo: Abdel-Hamid Eid)
Cairo giants Zamalek will take on ENPPI in the Egypt Cup final on Tuesday, hoping to end their three year trophy-less run since their Cup victory in 2008.
The game will be a replay of the 2008 match, when the Whites defeated ENPPI 2-1. They will be hoping for the same outcome this year, while ENPPI are looking for their second ever title, following a first trophy in 2005.
Coach Hassan Shehata put the team on the fast track to the final, producing a string of impressive wins against Wadi Degla (4-1), Gouna (3-2), and Haras El-Hodoud (2-1). A Cup title will make the dream debut for Shehata ahead of the league that starts on Friday.
Shehata’s key elements
The return of striker Ahmed Gaafar and Ibrahim Salah – after serving a one-match ban - will boost the squad additionally to key players Mahmoud 'Shikabala' Abdel-Razek and Ahmed Hassan.
The 2008 cup hero Amr Zaki has recovered his appetite, scoring both Zamalek’s goals against Haras El-Hodoud in the semi-finals. He could be partially helped by the Beninese marksman Razak Omotoyossi, who made a strong impact during training over the past week.
“Shehata asked the players to stay focused on the game and ignore all voices claiming it’s already a done deal,” Zamalek’s assistant coach Ismail Youssef was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.
ENPPI spotting the second title
The 2005 Egypt cup winners ENPPI will do their best to oust the eleven-time Egyptian league winners in their quest for their second major trophy.
ENPPI coach Mokhtar Mokhtar admitted that the game will not be easy for his team, but his experienced stars like Amr Fahem, Abdel-Zaher El-Sakka, Adel Mostafa and Ivorian striker Vincent Di Foneye may make the difference.
“Zamalek’s encounter will not be easy especially after the appointment of Shehata, but we will do our best to win,” Mokhtar told Egyptian media.
ENPPI stunned big favourites Ahly in round 16, and they hope to maintain their surprises to ruin Zamalek’s long-awaited party.