11:00 ET Canada-USA | 18:00 Cairo Local Time
Cairo Stadium | Egypt
Zamalek will kick off their champions league group stage campaign tonight when they face Algerian side Belouizdad at Cairo Stadium.
The Egyptian champions will be eager to avoid the scenario of the two past editions of the competition, which saw the club pay for their poor starts in the opening games of the continental competition, ending third in the four-team group and failing to book one of the two qualifying tickets for the quarter-finals both times.
“We will start our mission in the Group stage on Friday and we are ready to perform well against Belouizdad,” the Zamalek skipper told the pre-match news conference on Thursday.
“We had a poor start during the past editions, but we learned the lesson and we will do our best to make a good start this term,” he said.
“We know that the team’s results are not sufficient, but the players are determined to regain the team’s winning rhythm.”
The White Knights are struggling this season, especially since this year’s start as they claim only one win in eight games in all fronts.
These poor results cost Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira his job, before he was reappointed less than 10 days after his departure.
The veteran coach is set to start his mission with the team against Belouizdad and he hopes to help the team back to winning ways.
“We haven’t forgotten that we are the champions of the League and Cup and we are doing our best to return to winning ways,” Ferreira added.
“The group stage featured six games and we have to win in the first game as well as win our home games, as the opponents are always tough at their stadiums.”
“My message for Zamalek fans is that we don’t feel good due to the recent poor results, but we want to repeat what we did last season when we won the Egyptian League and Egypt Cup titles,” the coach said.
In his two previous spells at Zamalek, Ferreira helped the team win the domestic double and he is hoping to guide the team to the African title absent of the club from 2002.