Egypt: Sixth Heaven Beckons Zamalek

Zamalek Sporting Club was founded in 1911 under the name ‘Qasr El Nil Club’ by Belgian lawyer, George Marzbach, who was the club’s first ever chairman. The name was changed two years later, in 1913 to ‘El Mokhtalat Club’.

Few years later, it metamorphosed to ‘Farouk Club’, in honour of the then King of Egypt, King Farouk in 1941. The name was changed for a fourth and last time following revolution of 23 July 1952 to ‘Zamalek Sporting Club’.

In 1959, when the club moved to their current headquarters in central Cairo, Egyptian President at the time, Gamal Abdel Nasser, made a famous pronouncement.

“I call on Zamalek members; go and build your new great club,” Abdel Nasser declared.

During its days as ‘Qasr El Nil Club’ and ‘El Mokhtalat’, the club chairman was Marzbach, who reigned from 1911 to 1915. He was replaced by Frenchman Nicolas Bianchi until 1917, when Dr. Mohamed Badr was chosen as the first Egyptian chairman for the period 1917-1919.

Through its 105-years of existence, Zamalek has witnessed 20 different chairmen, with some enjoying more than one stint. They are now chaired by Mortada Mansour, who is having his third stint at the helm.

Nicknamed the White Knights, their rivalry with Cairo fellows, Al Ahly, count amongst the biggest derbies in global football.

They have laid their hands on almost all the major trophies domestically and on the international front. They have won the Egyptian League 12-times, 26 shy of their rivals Ahly. For the domestic knockout cup, they have been crowned champions for the last three seasons taking their tally to 25.

On the continental scene, they won their first title, African Cup of Champions Clubs in 1984 and have gone on to win four more titles; 1986, 1993, 1996 and 2002. Zamalek also annexed the CAF Super Cup in 1994, 1997 and 2003.

It was during the captaincy of the legendary Hazem Emam, one of the most talented players in the history of Egyptian football, that Zamalek won the last of their fifth premier continental club championship trophies, beating Raja Athletic Club of Morocco 1-0 on aggregate in the final.

Emam, 41, recently elected to the Board of Egyptian Football Association recalls events of the final in 2002.

“As captain then, I held several meetings with the players. I tried to soothe them and tell them how much the Egyptian people wanted this trophy.

“I didn’t play the first leg in Casablanca. The coach (Carlos Cabral) told me ‘I need you in the second leg, not now (referring to the first leg). In Cairo, we dominated the first half till the 45th minute. When the ball came to Tamer Abdel Hameed (scorer of the winning goal), I told him not to shoot.

“Fortunately enough, he didn’t listen to me and shot, and scored. It was how we won our fifth African trophy,” Emam said.

“I can’t believe its 14-years already. We are on our way to the sixth now. Definitely it’s going to be a tough mission against Mamelodi Sundowns, but I believe the players have got what it takes to add a sixth star to their trophy cabinet.”

Some notable members of the Zamalek ‘Class of 2002’ are the Hassan brothers (Hossam and Ibrahim), Tamer Abdelhamid and Walied Abdellatif.

Club Structure

Board

President: Mortada Mansour

Vice President: Ahmed Galal Ibrahim

Treasurer: Hazem Yassin

Board Members: Hany Zada, Rehab Abu Regeila, Ahmed Mortada, Mostafa el Ammary, Sherif Mounir

Technical Staff

Head Coach: Moamen Soliman

Football Director: Ismail Youssef

Coach: Mohamed Salah

Assistant Coach: Alaa Abdel Ghany

Goalkeepers Coach: Ayman Taher

Other Sports

Handball, Basketball, Volleyball, Swimming, Athletics, Karate, Water Polo, Table Tennis, Judo, Field Hockey, Croquet

Source: Confederation of African Football.