Shehata pens Zamalek deal, ending speculation about future

Hatem Maher, Friday 10 Feb 2012

Celebrated Egyptian coach halts rampant conjecture about his future by officially signing deal with Cairo club Zamalek

Hassan Shehata
Hassan Shehata commits his future to Zamalek (Photo: Ahram)

Coach Hassan Shehata has snubbed overtures by Saudi Arabia’s Ittihad Jeddah, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal with Zamalek on Friday.

Shehata admitted earlier this week that Ittihad Jeddah had him in their sights after domestic football in Egypt was suspended in the wake of last week's Port Said tragedy, which left 74 football fans dead and scores injured following a league game between Ahly and Masry.

The former Egypt tactician was appointed as Zamalek boss last summer but declined to sign a formal contract. Reports suggested that he had wanted to ensure that the club would be able to financially back him in the transfer market before committing himself to the ailing Cairo giants.

“Shehata signed a two-year deal today,” Zamalek board member Abdallah George confirmed on the club’s official website on Friday.

“This demonstrates Shehata’s loyalty and faithfulness to his former club. We have now closed this controversial matter.”

Zamalek had been on the verge of ending a three-year title drought only a few weeks after Shehata took over, but suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat by ENPPI in the Egypt Cup final.

The White Knights, who last won the league title in 2004, are currently third in the table with 33 points, four behind surprise leaders Harras El-Hodoud.

It remains to be seen whether the competition will be resumed, with many pundits calling on the Egyptian Football Association to cancel it in light of the recent disaster in Port Said, which has served to raise concerns over security at the country's football stadiums.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO_Sports)

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