Preview: Zamalek bid for 4th African Super Cup title against Tunisian Esperance

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 13 Feb 2020

Zamalek and Esperance will face off in two other games in the African Champions League quarterfinals in the coming weeks


Egypt's Zamalek, who won the Confederation Cup last season, are set to face CAF Champions League winners Esperance of Tunisia in Qatari capital Doha on Friday.

The Cairo giants are bidding to claim their fourth African Super Cup title, the last of which came at the expense of Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in 2003, while Esperance are searching for their second title since they last snatched it in 1995.

Zamalek and Esperance met in six games in the African Champions League in which the former won twice, lost once, and drew three times.

Zamalek and Esperance will face off in two other games in the Champions League quarterfinals. The first meeting will be on 29 February in the first leg while the second leg will be played on 6 March at Stade olympique de Rades in Tunisia.

Zamalek's participation in the game was not certain as club president Mortada Mansour repeatedly affirmed that the team will not play the game in Doha due to the political rift between Egypt and Qatar, citing safety concerns for his team.

The Cairo giants backtracked their threat to withdraw from the African Super Cup after being given assurances last week by CAF that the club's delegation would be secured by Qatari authorities.

Zamalek will start the game with a full squad after the return of the team's first choice goalkeeper Mahmoud "Gennesh" Abdel-Rehim, who recently recovered from a lengthy injury lay-off.

Gennesh, who played an instrumental role in helping Zamalek win the African Confederation Cup and Egypt Cup last season, has been out of action since rupturing an Achilles tendon in June last year while on international duty.

However captain Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razek is doubtful for the game as he hasn't been able to fully train over the past few days.

Zamalek have recently returned to winning ways as they defeated Haras El-Hodoud in the Egyptian Premier League 2-0 before beating outfit Ismaily 2-1 in the league last week.

"The technical staff concentrated on training the players on penalty shoots as the tournament's role order to play penalty kicks directly in the full time finished with a draw between the two teams without giving extra time to decide the winner," read a statement on Zamalek's official website.

"We have a very busy schedule so there was no special preparation for this game. I know them very well and I highly respect them as they are one of the best teams in Africa," Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron added.

Esperance de Tunis coach Moine Chaabani confirmed his team's readiness for the African Super Cup game against Zamalek.

"We will face Zamalek three times in three weeks. Esperance are ready for the African Super Cup game and the players are ambitious to win the title," Chaabani told Tunisian newspaper Assabah.

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