Zamalek coach Jaime Pacheco said that the coronavirus pandemic was partly to blame for his team's loss in the final game of the CAF Champions League as well as its departure from the Egypt Cup in the semifinal, but added that the Whites still have a brilliant squad that deserves to win more trophies.
"I did my best with Zamalek to solve some problems in the defence line and we managed to achieve our target but the coronavirus negatively affected the players' performance at a critical time," Pacheco told Zamalek's TV channel late on Wednesday.
Zamalek lost the services of number of their key players during the 2-1 loss to Ahly in the CAF Champions League final game last month such as in-form defender Mahmoud Hamdi, left back Abdalla Gomaa, and attacking midfielder Youssef Obama, who tested positive with COVID-19 before the match.
The Whites also lost to Talae El-Geish 3-1 in the Egypt Cup semifinalonly three days after losing the CAF Champions League final.
"We conceded five goals in two games after losing the services of the team's in-form defender Mahmoud Hamdi and left back Abdalla Gomaa who contracted with coronavirus," Pacheco said.
"I am proud to work with Zamalek players as they did everything to win all trophies but Ahly's experience and luck helped them to win the title,"
Zamalek's preparations for new season
The 62-year-old tactician confirmed that he bets on youth players in order not to cause more financial headache for the club's management.
Zamalek had called off a deal to sign Danish-Egyptian forward Amir Adel, AKA Alexander Jakobson, and refused to sign Ahly's former winger Ahmed El-Shiekh in a free transfer.
"Amir Adel is a brilliant player and I appreciated his CV but I am betting on players from the youth squad."
"I asked the club's management to sign a defender, and I also saw Ahmed El-Sheikh could add more value to the team's frontline, but the management did not complete the deal with the player."
"I also asked the management to recall Ivorian forward Razack Cissé who is on loan with Ittihad of Alexandria but they didn't," Pacheco said.
Zamalek will start their mission in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday when they face Arab Contractors in the first matchday.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)