Saturday Dec 07, 2019. 12:00
New Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron will get his first real test when he leads his side in their CAF Champions League Group B clash against Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Saturday.
Carteron replaced Micho Sredojevic in the Zamalek hot-seat this week, their 20th coaching change since 2015, and started with a cup win against third-tier El-Sharkia on Wednesday.
But he will get a sterner test this weekend against the Angolans, with both sides seeking to get their first wins in the pool stages.
Zamalek lost 3-0 at TP Mazembe in their pool opener, while Primeiro were held 1-1 by Zambian side Zesco United at home.
“The game is really important for us, especially following the TP Mazembe defeat in the first round,” Carteron said. “We have to fight to win all three of our home games to secure a spot in the knock-out stages. The Primeiro de Agosto game is our first step to our journey to qualification.
“We’re working a lot on preparing the players psychologically to win on Saturday. Currently it’s hard to properly prepare them especially with short period between games, that’s why we’re working on the psychological aspects.
“The Champions League this year is completely different from previous editions. There were no surprises in the preliminary round, therefore all the big teams are present which makes it more difficult.
“Our group is hard and the chances of qualifying are quite similar. Mazembe haven’t lost at home in 10 years, ZESCO are Zambian champions and Primeiro de Agosto are very strong. We will work on qualifying either as top of the group or second despite the challenges.
“I’m not currently thinking about the squad, we have high quality players in all positions. My only focus is getting positive results.”