Soccer24 takes a close look on Caps United’s Champions League opponent and the threat Zamalek will pose to the Green machine in Friday’s CAF Champions League match.
The five-time African champions who are the second most successful club in the continent host Makepekepe at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday when the new expanded African Champions League group stages kick-off.
The other two teams in Group B are USM Alger of Algeria and Ahli-Tripoli of Libya.
El Zamalek was founded in 1911 with the name Qasr El-Neel club. After several name changes the current name was chosen in 1952. Though over a hundred years old the club has never been relegated.
They have a total of 26 national titles (12 in the modern Premier League system). They have won the national cup a total of 25 times, including the last cup!
Internationally they have also done quite well with 5 CAF Champions League titles, finishing second in 2016, and having won a further 3 CAF Super Cups. Still they are only the second most successful football club in Egypt.
Zamalek has won more CAF trophies than any other African team in the Twentieth century. The club has 5 CAF Champions League titles, 3 CAF Super Cup titles and 1 African Cup Winners’ Cup title. Internationally, Zamalek has also won 2 Afro-Asian Cup titles.
New Portuguese coach Inacio who replaced Mohamed Helmy after a string of poor domestic results has brought stability to the team and a philosophy of holding the ball in midfield, before unleashing attacks.
The coach tends to use a 4-4-2 formation, basing his tactics on controlling the midfield, and favouring the right flank. Though this tactic has only one specified forward, the midfield players have the ability to score from outside of the area.
Since replacing Helmy, Inacio has taken charge of seven matches in the Egyptian Premier League. The former Sporting Lisbon coach lost his first two games when Zamalek went down to ENPPI (0-2) and Misr Lel Makasa (2-0).
However, the White Knights picked up two consecutive wins over El Geish (0-2) and Al Masry (0-1) another two draws on the trot against Tanta and Ismaily.
He then regrouped to pick a 2-1 victory over Al Mokawloon just last weekend.
Players to watch
Attacking midfielder Ayman Hefny is a great dribbler – fast with a lithe body – which allows him to evade players in tight situations, and which has led to him being dubbed ‘The Magician’. He can surprise at any time, and he also can play on the right wing.
Mostafa Fathi, 22, is one of a few players remaining from last season’s squad, but he has proven his worth, with his goals and assists helping the team to 3rd position on the log.