Preview: Carteron takes pressure off players as crisis-hit Zamalek face El-Geish

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 Oct 2021

Zamalek's French coach Patrice Carteron sought to take pressure off his players as the crisis-hit club, which risk more FIFA sanctions over outstanding payments to former players and coaches, meet Talae El-Geish in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.

Zamalek

The Cairo giants, who are aiming to defend their league crown, failed to add any new signings to their roster this season after being hit with a two-window transfer ban for striking a new deal with youngster Hossam Ashraf while he had already signed for a Cameroonian academy.

They are also battling on several other fronts as they owe millions of dollars to former foreign players and coaches, including Swiss boss Christian Gross and Moroccan striker Khalid Boutaib.

But the squad which propelled illustrious rivals Ahly to the league title this season is still holding together and was boosted by the return of several players who excelled while on loan stints last term.

Two of those players, winger Mostafa Fathi and striker Omar El-Said, made a fine impact when introduced as second-half substitutes in the 2-0 victory over Enppi in Zamalek's league opener last week, with the latter wrapping up the victory with a late header.

Zamalek will be looking to maintain their fine start and brush aside El-Geish, who caused a huge upset by beating Ahly on penalties in the Egyptian Super Cup but were crushed 3-0 by NBE club in their opening league game.

A win over El-Geish will also boost Zamalek's morale before they meet Ahly in the Cairo derby on Friday, even though Carteron insists the Red Devils are favourites to win the title because of their financial strength.

"Ahly are the favorites to win the next league derby after spending big in the last summer transfer window," he said in a television interview.

"Zamalek are not favourites for the league title because of the transfer ban but I adore such challenges."

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