Preview: Zamalek hope off-field problems won't derail league run

Ahram Online , Sunday 27 Dec 2020

Zamalek take on Smouha in their third Egyptian Premier League game after opening their campaign with a win over Arab Contractors and draw with Pyramids FC


Zamalek, still reeling following the suspension of its board of directors, will be hoping their off-field problems won't have any bearing on their Egyptian Premier League run as they face Smouha on Monday.

The Cairo club, who are now being run by an interim three-man committee, are struggling to keep hold of their prized assets, several of whom have reportedly threatened to terminate their deals if they are not paid soon.

Among the high-profile players that Zamalek risk losing is key holding midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who will be free to sign for another club next month as his contract expires at the end of the season.

The Tunisian international's agent admitted that his client is being approached by Qatar's Al-Duhail SC, who will take part in the Club World Cup in February. However, he said Sassi's priority was staying at Zamalek if his overdue payment is sorted out.

Zamalek's main striker Mostafa Mohamed also wants out after reportedly receiving an offer from French Ligue 1 club Saint Etienne. The club said they were not willing to sell him, saying they would only listen to offers after the end of the season.

Mostafa Mohamed has been left out of their squad for the game against Smouha due to an apparent back complaint.  

Zamalek, who finished without a major trophy last season, kicked off their league campaign with a 2-0 victory over Arab Contractors before playing out a 1-1 draw with the big-spending Pyramids FC.

Smouha collected five points from three games after a win over Wadi Degla and draws with Ittihad and Ghazl El-Mahalla.

Zamalek are missing midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed, who had just returned from a COVID-19 infection, as well as left-back Abdallah Gomaa and central defender Mahmoud Alaa, who also contracted the highly-contagious virus.

Smouha have a fully fit squad heading to the game.

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