Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron is pictured before the team s African Champions League clash away to Morocco s Wydad on Saturday, 26 February (Photo: the club s official Facebook page)
The White Knights threw away an early lead to slump to a 3-1 defeat at Morocco's Wydad on Saturday, which dented their hopes of reaching the African Champions League quarters.
The loss left Zamalek with only two points from three games, four behind second-placed Wydad and five adrift of leaders Petro Atletico of Angola.
To stand a realistic chance of going through and keeping alive their bid for their first crown since 2002, the five-time African champions need to win their remaining three matches in Group D.
Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour, who has recently won a new four-year term as president, had some harsh words for Carteron, accusing him of negotiating a move away from the club and saying he would be questioned by the board upon his return to Cairo.
There is no love lost between the two men, given Carteron's acrimonious departure before a crucial Champions League semi-final clash for Zamalek in late 2020.
The Frenchman returned to the Cairo giants a few months later and steered them to their first Egyptian Premier League title since 2015 last season.
However, with the team banned from making new signings and the cash-strapped club struggling to agree new deals with several of their stars, whose contracts run out at the end of the season, Carteron is finding it hard to keep Zamalek afloat.
The team look disjointed and the arrival of Osama Nabih, an ex-Zamalek striker who was also an assistant to Hector Cuper when the Argentinean was in charge of the Egyptian national team from 2015-18, is unlikely to spark a revival on its own.
"I met today with chairman Mortada Mansour. We will do our best to rectify the team's course in the coming period," Nabih said after being appointed as an assistant to Carteron, a move that local reports suggest is the last step before Zamalek dismiss the 51-year-old.
DR Congo coach Cuper, who is gearing up for a World Cup qualifying playoff against Morocco next month, is mooted as one possible replacement, although Zamalek are reportedly reluctant to let go of Carteron without lowering his hefty compensation package.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)