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Egypt's Shehata wants players to rest before ACL tie
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 01 - 06 - 2012

CAIRO - Zamalek's technical coach Hassan Shehata expressed his wish that the team should return to Cairo on June 27 for two days before travelling to Ghana, where the team will face Berekum Chelsea in the first match of the CAF Champions League group stage, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.
The Egyptian pair (Zamalek and Al-Ahly) are joined in Group B by Berekum Chelsea of Ghana and former winner TP Mazembe from DR Congo.
In mid-June Zamalek will travel to Kuwait for a preparation camp ahead of their ACL match with Berekum Chelsea on July 7in Ghana.
Shehata completely rejected the idea of travelling directly from Kuwait to Ghana, stressing the players' need to get enough rest.
Last month, Shehata submitted his resignation to the club board, due to the fact that the management didn't meet his demand of delaying the punishment of player Mahmoud Abdel-Razaq 'Shikaballah'.
The club board did not accept Shehata's resignation, stressing that all board members were unanimous in this decision.
"The board expresses its confidence in Shehata as coach of the team. We respect Shehata and understand that he submitted his resignation to allow the management to punish Mahmoud Abdel-Razeq 'Shikaballah'," read a statement on Zamalek's official website last week, after the board chaired by Mamdouh Abbas made its decision.
Shehata said he would only continue with the team if the management released striker Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' and Mahmoud Abdel-Razaq 'Shikaballah'.
The board agreed with Shehata's demands. TV cameras had caught Shikaballah angrily telling Shehata during the team's African Champions League game with Maghreb de Fes: “Do you have to replace me all the time? If you don't want me in the team, let me go.”
The Maghreb de Fes match in Cairo witnessed the 26-year-old forward losing his temper when coach Shehata decided to replace him. As a result the club board fined the player with 25 per cent of his club contract of around LE2 million ($400,000) and decided to loan him for year. "Shikaballah is a talented player and like my own son, but his behaviour was totally unacceptable," Shehata commented on Shika's reaction, stressing that no-one was perfect and infallible.
Sabri Serag, Zamalek Club vice-chairman, denied reports that Shikaballah would continue playing with the White Knights if he did not receive any loan offers.
Zamalek board member Ibrahim Youssef said on Thursday that the club management had received an offer from Espanyol club to sign on Shikaballah for one year.
"Shikabala is one the club's sons. If there are no offers, he will remain within the team squad," Serag said during a programme on Al-Hayat TV channel.
The statement, released last week, added that the board thanked team striker Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' for everything he had done for the club.
“Hassan Shehata is a great coach; he managed to build a strong Zamalek team. He has also got them to the Round of Eight in the African Champions League after an absence of many years, despite the difficult circumstances in Egypt, considering the suspension of domestic league matches,” it continued.
The cancellation of the 2011-12 Premier League season, the Martyrs' Cup and the Egypt Cup, have made matters more difficult for any coach anxious to keep his players in tip-top condition.
On February 1, in the coastal town of Port Said, an Egyptian Premier League match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly turned violent, claiming the lives of at least 74 Ahly fans and injuring around 1,000 spectators.
As a result, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) cancelled the Premier League 2011-12 season in early March, as well as the Martyrs' Cup and Egypt Cup, after Ahly Ultra groups threatened to cause trouble in the stadiums if the tournament and the Egypt Cup went ahead before the perpetrators of the Port Said massacre were punished.

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