CAIRO: The call-up of seven Zamalek players to Egypt s squad for the African Cup of Nations demonstrated that the Cairo club are making significant progress, coach Hossam Hassan said on Thursday.
Egypt coach Hassan Shehata used to rely on just three Zamalek players in keeper Abdel-Wahed Al-Sayed and defensive duo Mahmoud Fathallah and Hani Saied.
The arrival of Hassan as head coach signaled a change in fortune for Zamalek, who moved up to fifth in the Egyptian Premier League table after struggling at the wrong end of the table prior to his appointment.
Consequently, Shehata named seven players from the White Knights in Egypt s preliminary squad for January s Nations Cup in Angola.
It has been a long time since Zamalek had such a number of representatives in the national team, legendary Egypt striker Hassan said on the club s official website.
This clearly shows that the team is moving in the right direction.
I hope that Shehata s choices will mark the beginning of a new era for Zamalek. We want to compete for honors.
Al-Sayed, Saied and Fathallah retained their place in the Pharaohs squad. The new faces included diminutive right-winger Hazem Emam and left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi.
Talented winger Mahmoud “Shikabala Abdel-Razeq and striker Ahmed “Mido Hossam were also picked by Shehata to return to the team s fold after some disappointing displays early in the season saw them fall out of favor with the highly-respected tactician.