After recording their first win at the group stage last weekend, Egyptian giants Zamalek will be hoping to continue their winning form when they entertain Gor Mahia of Kenya on Sunday in Alexandria, as Group D of the Total CAF Confederation Cup reaches its penultimate stage.
Tagged favourites to win the group, Zamalek has managed just two points from their first three games, and looked doomed to a shocking exit. But the white Knights revived their chances with victory away from home against Angola’s Petro Atletico in Luanda to raise their tally to five points, two shy of leaders Nasr Hussein Dey of Algeria, and one less than Gor Mahia.
Moroccan-import Hamid Ahadad scored the only goal in Luanda to send a huge sigh of relief to Zamalek supporters after losing their inaugural group game to Gor Mahia 4-2 in Nairobi, and just managing back to back 1-1 draws in Alexandria with Hussein Dey and Petro.
A win in Alexandria on Sunday will give Zamalek a huge boost to reach the next round, and march towards their dream to add another CAF trophy to their cabinet. With nine continental titles to their name so far (5 Champions League, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 3 CAF Super Cup), Zamalek ranks amongst the elite clubs on the continent.
But their last taste of continental success was 16 years ago, when they won the CAF Super Cup back in 2003. Since then glory has eluded the White Knights, who came closest in 2016 when they lost the CAF Champions League final to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate.
Having three of their key players back after missing the trip to Angola will be an added boost to Zamalek’s Swiss coach Christian Gross. Defender Mahmoud Alaa (injured), midfielder Tarek Hamed and forward Mahmoud “Kahraba” Abdel Monem (both suspended) are back and available for Zamalek on Sunday, and with the current form of players like Tunisian Ferjani Sassi and Moroccan Khaled Boutaib, Zamalek will be looking to save revenge for their previous 4-2 defeat in Nairobi.
Petro Atletico hosts Nasr Hussein Dey in the other group D game, also on Sunday in Luanda.