Portuguese coach Pacheco returns to Egypt's Zamalek for second spell

Hatem Maher , Thursday 24 Sep 2020

Jaime Pacheco
File photo of Jaime Pacheco during his unveiling as Zamalek boss in 2014

Egypt's Zamalek brought back Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco for a second spell, replacing Frenchman Patrice Carteron with another defensive savvy boss as they bid to end their long wait for an African Champions League title.

Zamalek's eccentric chairman Mortada Mansour, who remonstrated with a handful of coaches over the past six years and fell out with Pacheco in early 2015, made the announcement on the club's television channel in the late hours of Wednesday, bringing an end to a week-long saga.

"Pacheco will sign a one-year contract," Mansour said.

Carteron dropped a bombshell by leaving the Cairo giants last week, paying a release clause to terminate his deal and leaving the club in a dire situation, less than a month before their mouthwatering two-legged clash against Morocco's Raja in the Champions League semifinal.

Zamalek embarked on a frantic search for a new boss and approached another former coach in Jesualdo Ferreira, who masterminded their rare domestic double in 2015. However, the veteran Portuguese manager turned down their offer.

The club then turned to Ferreira's compatriot Pacheco, who replaced Hossam Hassan early in the 2014/15 season that eventually yielded a league and cup double.

In a brief spell under his guidance, Zamalek won nine games out of 12, drawing twice and losing once before Pacheco suddenly quit the club on January 1, 2015 to take over at Saudi side Al-Shabab.

Pacheco is a safe bet for Zamalek's supporters, given his over-reliance on defence, a feature that has been common last season and in this term.

A cautious Zamalek side won the CAF Confederation Cup last season under Swiss boss Christian Gross after producing some solid defensive displays. It was the same story this term under Carteron, with the team mainly banking on their counter-attacking abilities as they reached the Champions League last four for the first time since 2016.

Pacheco's main task will be leading Zamalek to their first Champions League title since 2002 and helping them finish as runners-up in the domestic league. The 62-year-old has been without a job since leaving China's Tianjin Teda in 2017.

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