But coach could be in hot water
Zamalek coach Manuel Cajuda said he is confident his team will qualify to the semi-finals of the Arab Champions League (ACL) despite the disappointing 2-2 draw against Ahli Bordj of Algeria in Cairo on Sunday.
The Egyptian football giants showed some dismal form and twice squandered the lead against Ahli in the opening game of their Group A quarter-final match.
“It’s not the end of the world, Cajuda told a post-game press conference.
“I’m confident we can advance to the semi-finals, he said. “It’s still the first game and I’m not going to give in to people who say that our chances are slim, because they aren’t.
The Portuguese manager reacted aggressively to comments from the press about the way he is running the team.
He said that he knows Zamalek’s fans are frustrated and that he can only respond by working hard, which he insisted was the case since he took over the team.
“I took the reigns in January when the team was in sixth place in the league table, said a frustrated Cajuda.
“I helped Zamalek finish the season in second place and qualify for the Egyptian Cup final for the first time in three years and this year we are competing for the league title despite all the instability.
Zamalek has been suffering from a period of instability on the administrative level and could witness the return of impeached president Mortada Mansour by court order later this month.
“We could have a new board of directors by December 24th, said an unsettled Cajuda.
On the other hand, Ahli Bordj coach Mustapha Biskri dished out praise for his players for producing a “surprise result.
“They played with hard and produced a great effort, said Biskri.
Biskri said that his team got more than they expected in Cairo especially that the team had just suffered a 3-0 drubbing in the Algerian league from Mouloudia Alger before coming to Cairo.
Meanwhile, general manager Alaa Meklid denied allegations that the club board has decided to sack the Portuguese coach and his technical staff.
Egyptian media reports claimed Zamalek were planning to axe Cajuda following Zamalek’s surprise 2-2 home draw against Ahli Bordj of Algeria in the Arab Champions League on Monday.
“There is not truth to what has been reported, Meklid told said on Tuesday.
“The board has not taken any decision regarding the Cajuda and his technical staff.
Zamalek vice president Hazem Fawzi said that he will call for an emergency board of directors meeting to discuss the future of the football team’s coaching staff.
Fawzi is leading the opposition group that is calling for Cajuda to be sacked.