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Friday, 17 September 2021

Preview: Zamalek manager Helmi eyes winning return against Dahkleya

Zamalek will be hoping to get back to winning ways following the 1-1 draw with Wadi Degla last week

Omar Zaazou , Friday 2 Dec 2016
Zamalek's Nigerian forward Stanley Ohawuchi in action in an Egyptian Premier League game against Ismaily (Ahram)

Recently-appointed coach Mohamed Helmi will be hopeful of marking his return to Zamalek with a victory over Dakhleya when both sides clash in the Egyptian Premier League at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium on Saturday.

Having only managed to win a single game and register two draws in his three games in charge of Zamalek as interim manager, Mohamed Salah had to vacate the hot seat for Helmi who returns after nearly four months since departing.

Despite leaving after less than three months, Helmi's spell was rather a successful one, leading Zamalek to seven consecutive league victories before two Champions League group-stage defeats to eventual winners Mamelodi Sundowns sealed his fate.

After the Whites dropped points against Mido's Wadi Degla last week, Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour will be hopeful Helmi would help his side back to winning ways to mount pressure on leaders Ahly who are now four points clear of nearest challengers Maqassa, who have a game in hand.

And with Zamalek drawing three times in the league, the 54-year-old Helmi will be burdened with winning Zamalek's rescheduled matches in an attempt to bridge the gap with Ahly, who only drew twice, to just two points.

A game against 14th-placed Dakhleya seems the perfect start for Helmi to kick off his tenure with a win over a side that managed to claim only nine points from 12 games.   

Team news

No major absences to speak of at Zamalek, with only right-back Hosni Fathi, who has been signed in the summer, doubtful with a hamstring problem.

Helmi should find no problems dealing with his squad this time around, with the majority of the summer-signings selected by him in addition to the old guard he coached himself last season.

Midfielder Mahmoud 'Dunga' returns from injury to partner Egypt holder Tarek Hamed in the center of the park, with fit-again playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim also available.

Reserve keeper Mahmoud 'Gennesh' has been left out after going AWOL since the Degla draw in protest over being omitted from the 18-man squad in the final moments.

Striker Ahmed Gaafar has been ruled out by Helmi after the towering frontman's poor performances of late, with Bassem Morsi and Emmanuel Mayuka available for the center-forward role.

Zamalek are currently seventh on 18 points.   

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