Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

From where they came

Shikabala and Mido make a sudden return to Zamalek. Marawan Zayed reports

mido
mido
Al-Ahram Weekly

This week saw the return of both Mahmoud Abdel-Razek, aka Shikabala, and Ahmed Hossam, better known as Mido, to their former football club Zamalek. By sheer coincidence, both the mid-field star and junior coach respectively left the same team, Ismaili, for their ex-White Castle club.

Zamalek’s decision to sack Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta and appoint Mido was taken on Sunday after an urgent board meeting headed by the club’s president Mortada Mansour. The announcement was made official on the club’s official website.

This is the second time Zamalek hires Mido. He became Zamalek’s coach in January 2014 after the club sacked Helmi Toulan. It was the then 30-year-olds first coaching stint after retiring in late 2013 following big-time performances in Europe, including with Ajax and Tottenham.

Mido led Zamalek to third place in the 2013-14 Egyptian Premier League and secured a place in the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup but not before losses to rival Ahly and Alexandria side Smouha.

Mido won the Egypt Cup, Zamalek’s second in row, making him the youngest Egyptian manager to win a major trophy. On 29 July 2014 Mido was replaced by Hossam Hassan as Zamalek manager.

However, Mido’s relationship with Zamalek continued when he later accepted an offer from Mansour to direct Zamalek’s youth academy. Under his leadership, the U-16 team won Al-Wehda International Championship after defeating FC Steaua Bucharest 2-0 in the final.

In July 2015, Mido was appointed Ismaili’s manager. Six months later, Mido started having differences with the club’s board regarding the team’s superstar Hosni Abd Rabou. That brought Mido back full circle, a return to Zamalek.

There has been no news about Mido’s contract or any other details of the deal. However, Mido was scheduled to take over from Paqueta on Monday, to be joined by former team captain and current board member Hazem Emam who was appointed as the club’s football director. Paqueta coached only five matches.

Fan favourite Shikabala is back at his boyhood club Zamalek after leaving Ismaili following Mido’s departure. Shikabala, who joined Mido at Ismaili on a year loan deal from Zamalek, initially signed for the club until the end of this season but opted to go back to his club after Mido, who signed him, left the club last month. Mansour welcomed the idea of cutting Shikabala’s loan deal short and regaining his star man in January rather than waiting until the end of the season after Paqueta’s approval.

Zamalek’s fans were understandably delighted to hear the news as Shikabala was without doubt their star man during his time at the club before leaving to Sporting Lisbon where he failed to play a single game. Shikabala’s short stint at Ismaili was a very fruitful one as the player gradually found his feet and managed to score two goals and provide another three in just six games despite barely playing in the last two seasons. His good form with Ismaili convinced Paqueta and Mansour that the player could have an immediate impact with the club after initial fears that he would need some time to get back to his best.

Shikabala would have probably stayed until the end of the season with Ismaili had Mido stayed at the club but Mido’s clash with Abd Rabou saw the famed international resign with immediate effect.

Shikabala’s form from now till the end of the season will be crucial to the club’s quest to retain the league and cup titles especially after starting the season in shaky form. Zamalek have collected 18 points from nine games so far.


Shika



On the other hand, rival Ahly will be busy in the transfer window as they near a deal to sign former Ismaili star Amr Al-Sulia from Emirati club El Shaab. Al-Sulia has been considered one of the best Egyptian players in his position for a number of years now, with both Ahly and Zamalek trying to sign him several times but he opted to join El Shaab for financial reasons at that time. The player is interested in going to Ahly but the deal is slightly complicated as his current club is unhappy with offers on the table for the player, describing them as “very weak ” according to the Ismaili spokesman. Al-Sulia’s contract with El Shaab expires by the end of this season but Ahli coach Jose Paseiro wants the player in January to sharpen his midfield and to add depth to the squad.


Sulia



Reports claim that the Brazilian Paseiro is not convinced of the abilities of new signing Ahmed Al-Sheikh and is willing to let the player leave on loan till the end of the season. Al-Sheikh joined Ahly at the start of the season after initially choosing Zamalek but the Red Devils reacted quickly and managed to snap him up from under the noses of their main rivals. However, apart from some friendly games in which he hugely impressed, the player failed to make a single official appearance for his new club but was still included in the team’s African squad which somehow indicates that the player might still have a future with the club. If he opts to leave on loan to play regularly, Al-Sheikh’s former club and league leaders Misr Al-Maqasa will be his preferable destination.

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