Zamalek former coach Hassan Shehata (Photo: Reuters)
After remaining tight-lipped for some time, former Zamalek coach Hassan Shehata has revealed the reasons for his conflicts with some of the team's stars, which played a role in his departure last month.
Shehata initially submitted his resignation two months ago after the club declined to offload winger Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razek after the two men were involved in a touchline row during a Champions League match against Maghreb Fez in May.
The 62-year-old reversed his decision after the club placed Shikabala on the transfer list.
"The clash with Shikabala occurred suddenly. I was treating him kindly and all his demands were approved. His misconduct was surprising for me," Shehata told an Egyptian radio station on Sunday.
"I don't hate Shikabala and even when I was the national team coach, I didn't treat him unfairly. He is the one who harmed himself," the former Zamalek icon, a prominent star in the 1970s, added.
After Zamalek lost their first two Champions League matches, several board members tried to coax Shehata into pardoning Shikabala but he refused their request.
He left his post as Zamalek coach after a 1-0 loss to rivals Ahly in a Champions League Group B game last month.
Shehata with troublesome star Shikabala
Problems with Mido, Zaki
Shikabala was not the only player to fall out of favour during Shehata's reign. In May, veteran striker Ahmed "Mido" Hossam was dropped from Zamalek's first team squad.
It was reported that Mido's departure came upon the request of Shehata after the player failed to make an impression last season, but the former Egypt boss coach denies this.
The problems between Mido and Shehata date back to the 2006 African Cup of Nations when they were involved in a touchline row after the towering frontman was substituted during the semi-final win over Senegal.
"Those who think that I still have a problem with Mido since the famous clash in 2006 are wrong. He is a great and important player, but only when he is fit," said Shehata.
"I didn't ask the Zamalek board to offload Mido and these are all rumours. I only told them that he wasn't beneficial for the team. The player's huge salary was the main problem with the management."
Mido's clash with Shehata in 2006
Shehata's relationship with fellow striker Amr Zaki was also lukewarm, despite the honeymoon period they enjoyed during the 62-year-old's stint in charge of Egypt.
Zaki's constant complaints over late payments and his desire to leave the club made life difficult for him under Shehata.
The combative frontman's aim to play abroad again has been fulfilled recently, after he signed a two-year contract with Turkish club Elazığspo last week.
"Zaki is a prolific striker but he used to pretend to be sick. His departure from Zamalek is the best solution for all parties," said Shehata about the 28-year-old.
Cairo giants Zamalek have recently appointed Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira as Shehata's successor.
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