Preview: Zamalek face straightforward task to reach CL group stage

Ahram Online , Saturday 8 Oct 2022

Zamalek should face no difficulty reaching the African Champions League group stage as they host Burundi's Flambeau du Centre in two "home" legs in the competition's second preliminary round.

Zamalek
Zamalek easily beat Chad s Elect-Sport 4-0 on aggregate in the African Champions League first preliminary round (Photo: the club s official Facebook page)

 

The Cairo giants reached an agreement with Flambeau du Centre to hold both legs in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, which has all but ensured there is little room for surprises.

On paper, Flambeau du Centre will play at home in Sunday's first leg, which means that any goal Zamalek will score will give them a clear advantage to advance.

Zamalek easily beat Chad's Elect-Sport 4-0 on aggregate in the first preliminary round as they began their campaign to clinch an elusive Champions League title, which they last won in 2002.

Veteran Portuguese boss Jesualdo Ferreira led Zamalek to an unlikely Egyptian Premier League triumph last season, his second over two spells with the club, and he has now shifted his priority to Africa's blue-riband club competition.

"In the last two seasons, Zamalek won the league title but they haven't won the African Champions League for 20 years," Ferreira told Portuguese sports newspaper Record.

"Zamalek reached the Champions League final under Jaime Pacheco but they lost the title to [arch-rivals] Ahly two years ago, so our main target is to win it this time around."

Against Flambeau du Centre, Zamalek will be backed by up to 10,000 supporters at the vast Borg El-Arab Stadium, with attendance capacity still reduced due to security concerns.

Ferreira will have several new signings available, including Senegalese forward Ibrahima Ndiaye, Moroccan midfielder Zakaria El Wardi, experienced full-back Omar Gaber and central defender Mostafa El-Zennari.

However, he will miss two key players in veteran schemer Mahmoud Shikabala and in-form versatile midfielder Emam Ashour, who are not fully fit.

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