Portuguese coach Augusto Inacio (Photo: Zamalek Official website)
Zamalek's new coach Augusto Inacio will be tested for the first time when the Whites host their counterparts Ennpi in the Egyptian Premier League Monday.
The Portuguese coach, who signed a one-and-a-half-year contract Friday, awaits a difficult start against the stiff petroleum side while the Cairo giants seek to urgently stem three successive league losses.
Replacing Egyptian coach Mohamed Helmi, who resigned after a series of unconvincing performances, Inacio knows well that there is a lot of work to do to get his new team back to winning ways.
"Zamalek is a big club known worldwide. The board offered me full support in my mission. The team deserves a better situation," Inacio said at a press conference at the club's headquarters Saturday.
"I know that there are enemies for Zamalek, but I will work hard and no one will interfere in my work as this isn't acceptable for me. I left my job before in Qatar for a similar reason," the 62-year-old Portuguese tactician added.
A difficult title race
Zamalek lie fourth in the Egyptian Premier League table with 40 points, a massive 18 behind leaders Ahly who have played one match more.
"I will start working with Zamalek from point zero. There will be no stars in the team as the one who proves his worth in the trainings will automatically earn a place in the matches," the new coach said.
"Zamalek needs much effort, especially in raising the players' morale and fitness. The players are determined to return to winning ways. I have certain goals to achieve here and I know that competing for the league title is difficult," the coach concluded.
Against Enppi, Inacio will be backed by all his team's key players as there are no major absentees in the team's closed training camp that started Saturday.
On the other side, Ennpi, 12th in the league table with 25 points, will be seeking their first win in the last four league matches.
"I warned my players of Zamalek's expected revival under the new coach," Ennpi's coach Tarek El-Ashri was quoted by Reuters as saying.
"We will be seeking a win after losing two precious points in the draw against Tanta. We have no other choice but to win Monday to improve our position in the league table," he concluded.
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