Zamalek stunned after sudden snub by Belgian coach Vercauteren

Published August 23rd, 2017 - 06:44 GMT
Franky Vercauteren
Franky Vercauteren

Former Belgium coach Franky Vercauteren stunned Zamalek after making a U-turn on his decision to take charge of Cairo's famed club on Wednesday, leaving them in a state of disarray before the start of the new season.

Zamalek board member Ahmed Mansour, son of outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour, said on Tuesday that Vercauteren had agreed to pen a two-year deal with the club.

However, the 60-year-old suddenly backtracked on his decision, much to the dismay of Mortada Mansour who pointed finger at what he called "vandals", including former Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan who is at loggerheads with the controversial chairman.

Hassan, who fell out with Mansour over money owed to him when he played for Zamalek from 2011 to 2013, played under the guidance of Vercauteren at Belgian giants Anderlecht almost a decade ago.

Vercauteren has not revealed why he had decided to snub Zamalek. 

"There are some vandals who are playing with fire … at first, they launched a fierce attack on Romanian coach Victor Piturca and that was the reason why talks had broken down with him at the end," Mansour said in a statement.

"Franky (Vercauteren) arrived in Cairo 10 days ago and he was very happy with what he saw at the club and he accepted our offer … but negotiations stopped with him after those vandals told him that Egypt is suffering from terrorism and that Christians are being persecuted.

"Ahmed Hassan admitted before that he warned Franky against taking charge of Zamalek."

Zamalek have limited time to find a replacement for sacked coach Augusto Inacio, with the Egyptian Premier League scheduled to kick off early next month.

The White Knights have been on a downward slide since winning the domestic double in 2015, with too many managerial changes blamed by their fans for their failure to maintain that success in the past two seasons, with arch rivals Ahly winning the league two straight times.

Zamalek have had 15 coaches since the election of President Mansour in 2014, including Mido, Hossam Hassan, Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira and Scottish Alex McLeish.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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