CAIRO: Zamalek coach Michel Decastel regards Mahmoud “Shikabala Abdel-Razeq highly but still believes that Mohamed Abou-Trika, who plays for his side’s arch-rivals Ahly, is more influential.
Comparisons are constantly made between the two players, who are lauded for their skilful touches.
Classy playmaker Abou-Trika has led Ahly to a host of local and continental titles since joining from Tersana in January 2004.
Shikabala, who can play as a winger and playmaker, is one of the mainstays of Zamalek’s squad but he is usually criticized for being somewhat showy.
“Shikabala is more talented than Abou-Trika, but Abou-Trika is more influential, Swiss coach Decastel told Dream TV in an interview on Wednesday.
“Shikabala can become much better if he realizes that teamwork is more important than personal glory. He should serve the team better.
Decastel expects a fierce competition for the Egyptian Premier League title this season.
He believes that Ahly, who won the previous five editions of Egypt’s premier competition, will no longer enjoy an easy ride.
“Ahly were obviously the best team during the past five years, but this year it will be a different story, the former Etoile Sahel manager added.
“Zamalek and Ismaili can also be serious title contenders.
“We (Zamalek) won many games last season with a squad which mainly consisted of youngsters so with experience and luck we can win the league.
The Cairo giants brought in several high-profile players like Middlesbrough striker Ahmed “Mido Hossam and former Ahly midfielder Hassan Mostafa.
The 11-time Egyptian champions aim to end their league jinx, having won their last title in 2004.