Sredojevic's new boss: Meet the eccentric Zamalek owner who makes PSL peers look mild in comparison

20 August 2019 - 11:52 By Nick Said
Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic (Coach) of Orlando Pirates during the Orlando Pirates press conference at PSL Offices on November 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic (Coach) of Orlando Pirates during the Orlando Pirates press conference at PSL Offices on November 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Micho Sredojevic may have got his Zamalek tenure off on a bizarre footing with the nature of his exit from Orlando Pirates‚ but there could be plenty more wobbles along the way as he prepares to work with his eccentric new club owner Mortada Mansour.

Mansour is a controversial figure in Egypt‚ not just its football‚ and has successfully got dissenting members of the club’s so-called ‘Ultras’ arrested and later banned as he cracks down on anyone who does not agree with him.

Even the appointment of Sredojevic was made in‚ frankly‚ extraordinary fashion‚ as Mansour revealed on live television that the club had agreed a deal with Serbian Aleksandar Stanojević to take charge.

He later flatly denied having done so‚ and then admitted he had‚ but said it was a “trick to find out who the club’s enemies are and I exposed them in front of everyone”‚ according to KingFut.com.

On Sunday‚ Mansour said that Sredojevic was the club’s first choice for the coach position‚ but then later said he was only third-choice behind Argentine Ramon Diaz and Portugal’s Jesualdo Ferreira.

Sredojevic is the 23rd coaching change at the club in the five years that Mansour has been president of Zamalek‚ though that does include temporary appointments in between permanent arrivals.

It is still a heady turnover that shows no proper planning‚ strategy or long-term vision‚ and a volatile working environment where coaches can never truly feel trusted and secure.

During that time‚ the club has won the Egyptian league once‚ Egyptian Cup three times and the CAF Confederation Cup in the 2018-19 campaign‚ which was still not enough to keep their Swiss coach Christian Gross in the job.

He lasted the longest though‚ a full year‚ losing just five times in 47 games in all competitions‚ but did not have his one-year deal renewed.

Perhaps the frustration for Mansour is that while Zamalek have had some success during his reign‚ great rivals Al Ahly have generally dominated the local scene and also won the CAF Champions League in that time‚ more than enough to eat away at his ego.

The Confederation of African Football suspended Mansour from all football-related activities for a year last September and fined him $40‚000 after he “insulted” CAF president Ahmad Ahmad‚ though this was lifted early in May.

Egypt’s Supreme Media Council also once banned Mansour from appearing in any media platforms‚ TV‚ radio‚ print and websites‚ such were his inflammatory outbursts‚ while he has also received the same ban from the Egyptian Olympic Committee.

Mansour‚ a lawyer‚ also previously unsuccessfully ran for election as president of Egypt‚ during which time he threatened war with Ethiopia and said on live television that the Emir of Qatar could "go to hell and take his mother with him”.


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