Zamalek spy on CAPS

HARARE - Egyptian giants Zamalek are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to get maximum points against CAPS United in their African Champions League Group B clash next week.

The five-time African champions host Makepekepe at the Cairo International Stadium next Friday when the new expanded African Champions League group stages kick-off.

The other two teams in Group B are USM Alger of Algeria and Ahli-Tripoli of Libya.  

In order to gather accurate information regarding Makepekepe’s style of play, the White Knights have had to resort to watching videos of the Zimbabwean champions according to their managing director Hamada Anwar.

“Anwar...has secured three videos of CAPS in the past few days which the coaching staff led by Portuguese Augusto Inacio has been studying before their scheduled match on May 12 in the first game of the group stages of the African Champions League,” Zamalek said on their official website yesterday.

“Anwar said that the videos included two matches in the league as well as their game against TP Mazembe in DR Congo in the final qualifying round of the tournament.

“Anwar thanked the director of EgyptAir’s office in South Africa for helping the White Knights secure these videos so they can see how their opposition play before the match.”

The White Knights last won the African title way back in 2002 but will be hoping to conquer the continent again under the newly appointed Inacio.

The Portuguese gaffer was appointed at the start of last month after Zamalek sacked Mohamed Helmy due to poor results in the league.

Since replacing Helmy, Inacio has taken charge of six matches in the Egyptian Premier League. The former Sporting Lisbon coach lost his first two games when Zamalek went down to ENPPI (0-2) and Misr Lel Makasa (2-0).

However, the White Knights picked up two consecutive wins over El Geish (0-2) and Al Masry (0-1) another two draws on the trot against Tanta and Ismaily.

“I am very confident about my work and about myself. I wish to win a lot of championships with the team. I am more eager for this than our fans,” Inacio told Egyptian media this week after the draw with Ismaily.

The 62-year-old coach also spoke about his tactical preferences regarding the way he wants the White Knights to play.

“Ball possession means movement plus passing and passing plus movement,” he said.“However, this is hard to apply in Egypt.

“The two reasons why this is hard to execute is because of the pressure made by opponents and their continuous movement, in addition to poor stadium pitches.

“Each coach must have a primary plan. If the opponent was able to stop our plan we must change the plan and players.

“There must always be an alternative plan for such cases. I started with a 4-4-2 strategy but Ayman Hefny was absent so I made an inverse triangle in the midfield, two players with one player in front of them instead of one player with two players in front of him.”     Meanwhile, Makepekepe will be leaving Harare on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Friday’s match in Cairo.

The Green Machine will have a short stopover in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia before connecting to Cairo later in the evening.

CAPS will only arrive in the Egyptian capital in the early hours of Thursday morning which will give the Zimbabwean champions a chance to training at the match venue ahead of the clash.

In the qualifying rounds, Makepekepe failed to get a feel of the match venues in all their two away legs against TP Mazembe and Lioli FC of Lesotho. Against Lioli, CAPS arrived in Maseru a day before the match but their plans of training at the match venue were hampered by a heavy downpour shortly after their arrival.

For the away clash against TP Mazembe, the Green Machine travelled with a chartered plane to Lubumbashi on the morning of the match.

Makepekepe arrived in the DR Congo just a few hours before kick-off before going onto to secure a priceless 1-1 draw at the Stade TP Mazembe.  

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