Monday,23 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1264, (1 - 7 October 2015)
Monday,23 July, 2018
Issue 1264, (1 - 7 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Zamalek do the double

A huge win against arch foes Ahly gave Zamalek the domestic cup following their football league victory, reports Marawan Zayed

Zamalek Club
Zamalek Club
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egyptian football league champions Zamalek ensured it will be a season to remember for them and their fans after they defeated their fierce rivals Ahly 2-0 in the final of the cup to claim their first local double in 27 years.

A week later, Zamalek would be humbled in the semi-final of the African Confederation Cup, thrashed 5-1 by the Tunisian Etoile Sahel in Tunisia, making a  highly improbable 4-0 victory in the return leg in Cairo a must if Zamalek are to reach the final.

But at least domestically, Zamalek can rejoice. Egypt’s hottest property Bassem Morsi was the hero of the White Knights as he scored both goals against Ahly in style. Morsi found the back of the net early in the game after making the most of Hussein Ali’s misguided clearance and finished emphatically after deceiving the young defender spectacularly.

His second goal came late in the first half as he showed tremendous fighting spirit to snatch the ball from in front of goalkeeper Sherif Ekrami after Bassem Ali tried to pass the ball back to the keeper. His deft touch found the back of the net to make it very hard for Ahly to recover and make a comeback.

Ahly players were very poor throughout the game and rarely threatened Zamalek’s goalkeeper Mahmoud Genesh who was the main reason his team reached the final after winning for them two games in penalty shootouts.

Zamalek’s always controversial president Mortada Mansour is certainly the biggest winner this season as his non-ending feuds with Ahly’s president Mahmoud Taher ended with a precious double over his rivals.

Morsi can consider himself the star of the season after his goals guided the club to both the league title and the cup, let alone scoring both goals against Ahly. Ayman Hefni, Ibrahim Salah and Kahraba are some other names that starred big time throughout both competitions to help their club finally make their fans happy after years and years of massive disappointments. They had won the last two editions of the cup prior to this one but failed attempts to compete for the league and African trophies meant continued dismay for their loyal fans.

The man behind their success, Portuguese coach Ferriera, could not hide his absolute pleasure of guiding the Egyptian giants to their first local double since 1988 and praised all his players for their unity and for showing exceptional fighting spirit that saw them seal the league title at an early stage as well as defeating their biggest rivals in the final of the cup to add more value to the triumph, according to their manager.

Ahly legend, retired superstar Mohamed Abu Treika, praised Zamalek and their players and congratulated them for winning the double “with hard work and effort and not in any other way” and added that this year is certainly a year to forget for his former club. He encouraged them to make this season’s failure their biggest motivation for the upcoming season.

Egyptian football pundits including Ibrahim Hegazi, Medhat Shalabi and Ahmed Shobeir all agreed that Zamalek deserved their double after an exceptional season.

The backing of Mansour in the transfer market can be considered as the main reason the club managed to sweep away their rivals this season, as most of the new signings had a splendid season with the White Knights alongside another new signing in the form of tinker man Ferreira who knew how to get the best out of his players.

It remains to be seen whether Zamalek can continue performing like this in coming seasons or whether it will be only be a one-season wonder.

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