Zamalek members get their chance
AFTER more than three years of an appointed board of directors, Zamalek club members will have the chance to elect their president and a board of directors on 29 May. The last elected board, headed by Mortada Mansour, was dissolved after which came four appointed boards covering a three-year span.
Nine presidential hopefuls submitted their names earlier this week before the deadline on Sunday. The nominees include former presidents Kamal Darwish, Mansour and Mamdouh Abbas. The remaining are Abdel-Tawab Khalaf, Khaled El-Koshi, Mahmoud Khaled, Nasser Metwalli, Mohamed Bahgat and Salama Metwali.
Former president and current chairman of Al-Ahram board Morsi Attalah pulled out of the running. In a statement, Attalah said he was sorry for being "unable to answer the calls of the members of the club" who trusted him "to lead their club in the coming period." However, he said the increase in the number of nominees would definitely not be in the interest of the club "and might even put the club at risk of disputes, conflicts and the probability of lawsuits taken to court which could either cancel or postpone the elections," as has happened before.
The club's current president Mohamed Amer, appointed last year by the National Sports Council, also announced he would not run, agreeing with Attalah that the elections will not run smoothly and will be held in what he described as "an unhealthy atmosphere."
For the six board members seats, 27 have confirmed their candidacy while five have applied for the job of auditor.
For the past several weeks attempts to unite members of the club and its high-ranking figures have apparently stalled with each concerned only about where self-interests lie.
With less than a month to go before the polls, Zamalek, the so-called White Castle, has turned into a busy beehive of activity with election banner slogans decorating the premises. The colourful display gets the attention of those passing by the club located on 26th July Street in Mit Okba.
IN THE AFRICAN Champions League, defending Egyptian champions Ahli held Kano Pillars to a tame 1-1 draw in the first leg of the CAF Champions League round of 16 on Saturday, thanks to a superb strike by second-half substitute Hani El-Egeizi.
Victor Namo put the Nigerian team in front shortly after the half-hour mark, but El-Egeizi headed the leveller 20 minutes from time. Influential midfield duo Mohamed Barakat and Ahmed Hassan missed the game through injury, which clearly affected the defending champions.
Supposedly, Ahli are better poised to qualify to the group stage, given that they will host Kano in the return leg next month.
Ahli assistant coach Hossam El-Badri reckons his side's draw with Pillars was an acceptable result, but doesn't guarantee them a spot in the next round.
"It's a good result, but we can't say we are already through," El-Badri said after the game.
"In the first half our performance was below-par. We were retreating further and further back to our own goal, which allowed our opponents to take control.
"We redeemed ourselves in the second half, thanks to the substitutions that shored up our midfield and made the frontline more effective, but only to an extent."
Apart from the Cairo giants' display, Manuel Jose's assistant voiced his dissatisfaction over the pitch that clearly wasn't up to scratch.
"The pitch was really bad, and it definitely affected both teams' performances," El-Badri added. "But still I can say the result is perceived to be satisfactory.
"I believe we are capable of booking a place in the next round."
In Saturday's other match, the former champions Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia went to Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya and came away with a 0-0 draw, giving them a great chance of making it through to the group stage.
DR Congo side Mazembe edged past Al Ittihad Khemisset of Morocco 1-0 in Lubumbashi. Asec beat Zimbabwe's Monomotapa by the same scoreline in Abidjan.
Elsewhere, Angolan side Primeiro Agosto defeated highly-fancied Al Hilal of Sudan 3-1 in Luanda. Nigeria's Heartland earned a 2-1 win over last year's runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon in Owerri.
The return matches in all these ties are on the first weekend in May.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Ahmed Eid Abdel-Malek scored twice as Haras Al-Hedoud of Egypt beat Al Gawafel Sportives de Gafsa of Tunisia 3-0 in the last 32 round first-leg.
In the tie held in Alexandria, Abdel-Malek hit the net on four minutes before Abdel-Salam Nagah added a second in the 21st minute.
Abdel-Malek wrapped up the Egyptian side's win with a third on 63 minutes.
Another Egyptian club, Enppi, battered Red Arrows 4-0 in the CAF Confederation Cup second round on Saturday, making it difficult for the Zambian side in the second leg to advance.
Ayman Sayed opened the scoring on 21 minutes, before influential first-half substitute Adel Mustafa added the second five minutes after the interval. While Ahmed Raouf hit a brace on 56 and 60 minutes to complete the rout.