Zamalek coach Mohamed Helmi quits after CAF Champions league loss to Mamelodi Sundowns

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The announcement was made by the club’s outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour and although Helmi was said to have resigned, it is more akin to a firing than stepping down.

Mansour, who is known for his fiery temper, reacted straight after the 1-0 loss in Atteridgeville by saying he had accepted the resignation of Helmi, who took over at the club following the sacking of Scotsman Alex McLeish in May.

“Helmi’s replacement will be a foreigner. We are choosing between Argentine Enzo Trossero and Belgian Georges Leekens,” the controversial lawyer said in an Egyptian television interview following the match.

The ‘sacking’ highlights the precarious nature of coaching in the Arabic world. Helmi had gone through a 12-match unbeaten run with Zamalek before the 2-1 loss to Sundowns in Cairo on 17 July.

But even after losing again to the Brazilians, Zamalek need only draw their next Group B match at home to Enyimba to secure a semifinal spot.
On Wednesday night, a 79th minute own goal by defender Ali Gabr condemned Zamalek to defeat.

It is not the first time this season that victory for Sundowns in the continent’s top club completion has cost a coach his job.

Lamine Ndiaye, the well-travelled Senegalese coach, was fired by Congolese club AC Leopards after Sundowns knocked them out in the second round of this year’s Champions League.