Zamalek Coach Warns Sundowns: We Are A Different Team
Zamalek head coach Moamen Soliman has sent out a stern warning to Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of their 2016 Caf Champions League final showdown, with the two teams from opposite ends of the African continent to meet in the first-leg of the Caf Champions League final at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday.
The reverse fixture is set for Alexandria's El Borg Arab Stadium next Sunday evening, 23 Ocotber 2016.
Having defeated the White Knights in home and away fixtures in the group stages of the competition, Sundowns will carry a slight edge heading into the showpiece event.
Zamalek, though, are a changed unit under Soliman with the former professional leading the club to Egyptian Cup success in his first few months in charge of the iconic club.
Such is the confidence of the man, that he reportedly proclaimed that he would quit if Zamalek failed to win what would be their sixth Caf Champions League crown, their first since 2002.
Soliman was quick to play down his earlier comments with the former defender stating that his statement was exaggerated by the local media.
"I think the media exaggerated what I said, I had a meeting for half an hour and I spoke about that for only a few seconds," said Soliman at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday. "Of course you know in Egypt we have a lot of fans, alongside Al Ahly - we are very happy over the past two months and I am a son of the club, I grew up there.
"I don't think about that too much because I concentrate on the game, but if that happens [we lose] I don't think it will be logic for that to happen without discussions. I will leave this decision to the committee to decide whether I can continue.
"I have confidence that I will do my best, I will do my job and after the final we will speak about that.
The White Knights preparation for the clash has been fair from ideal with eight of their players involved in national team action this past weekend. Egypt beat Congo 2-1 in Brazzaville on Sunday.
Soliman, though, wasn't ready to complain too much knowing Sundowns have suffered the same problem throughout their campaign - with CAF registration limiting both Pitso Mosimane and the Zamalek mentor.
"We have a very difficult situation before the game, we were stuck without eight players who were with the national team - I've never had my team together, I have coached the local team and Africa list," Soliman continued. "It has been very difficult, not ideal, but we have gained a lot from the work.
"It is all about the players. We have the confidence, we reached this stage with a lot of hard work - we are in the final and we can't blame the list or luck, we are in the final and we have to play.