Sunday Dec 13, 2020. 13:00
Zamalek head coach Jaime Pacheco says the coronavirus pandemic was to blame for his team’s recent losses in the CAF Champions League and Egyptian Cup.
The White Knights were defeated by their arch-rivals Al Ahly in the 2019/20 Champions League final, before they were stunned by El Geish in the Egyptian Cup semi-final match.
“I did my best with Zamalek to solve some problems in the defence line and we managed to achieve our target but the coronavirus negatively affected the players’ performance at a critical time,” Pacheco said on Ahram Online.
Zamalek were without three key players, Abdallah Gomaa, Mahmoud Hamdy El-Wensh and Youssef Obama after the trio tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the clash with Al Ahly.
However, Al Ahly were also missing influential players Walid Soliman, Aliou Dieng and Saleh Gomaa, who had all tested positive for coronavirus.
“We conceded five goals in two games after losing the services of the team’s in-form defender Mahmoud Hamdy and left-back Abdalla Gomaa who contracted with coronavirus,” Pacheco said.
“I am proud to work with Zamalek players as they did everything to win all trophies but Ahly’s experience and luck helped them to win the title.”
Al Ahly went on to complete a treble having won the Egyptian Premier League, Champions League and Egyptian Cup in the 2019/20 season, but Zamalek clinched the Egyptian Super Cup.
Zamalek will start their 2020/21 Premer League campaign with a clash with Al Moqawloon Al Arab on Saturday night, while Al Ahly are set to face Misr El Maqasha on Sunday night.