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Zamalek boss Vieira defends Bradley: It’s impossible to work this way
Egypt were thumped 0-3 by the Black Stars, who are preparing for their African Cup of Nations campaign, and Vieira says the result is understandable.
“I know the result wasn’t positive for Egypt but you have to consider that it’s very difficult for a national coach to prepare his team when there is no league, and as you know that many friendlies were organized for the national team, however, they got cancelled,” said Vieira at a press conference in the UAE capital to launch the upcoming Matchworld Cup – a four-team friendly tournament featuring the White Knights, Zenit St Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Al Hilal FC.
“How can the coach prepare his programme? Every day or every week you have to change. This happened to me with Zamalek. I came to Zamalek six months ago and every week we change the programme, the dates, and the calendar. I have changed my programme seven times. Seven times.
“It’s impossible to work this way. All coaches, not only me. And the same applies to the national team because it depends on the clubs. The clubs are the support of the national team even if the majority of the national team is from Al-Ahly and Zamalek. We didn’t have matches, only Al-Ahly has played the Club World Cup and we were eliminated from the Champions League just after I joined – I only had three matches with them.”
Zamalek supplied a handful of players for last Thursday’s fixture, including defender Mahmoud Fathallah and young goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy, and despite the Egyptian defence clearly struggling to keep up with the Ghanaians; Vieira insists that fitness has not been neglected during their training with the club.
“My players I can guarantee to you have no problem with fitness,” said a defensive Vieira. “I had Ibrahim Salah, Omar Gaber, Abdel-Shafy, Mohamed Ibrahim and Fathallah (against Ghana).
“When I gave my players to the national team I can guarantee to you they were ready in fitness. What happened after that is not in my hands, I can’t take any responsibility because they’ve been with the national team for two weeks now.”
Zamalek will link up with Vieira in Abu Dhabi on Monday, ahead of their opening Matchworld Cup clash with Shakhtar on Wednesday (20:00 U.A.E time) while Egypt will be looking to redeem themselves when they face Ivory Coast in a friendly, also in the Emirati capital, on Monday night.
Vieira, who is a frequent visitor the UAE, where his family reside, is hoping to reap some benefits from his looming matches with Shakhtar, who play Dortmund in the Champions League next month, and Zenit, who have a date with Liverpool in the last-32 stages of the Europa League.
The Brazilian added: “The level of the tournament will be a very high level and I hope that the people will enjoy the matches. It’s very important for us especially because we are preparing for our league and the Champions League of Africa, so this invitation came at a very good time.
“It’s very important for us to measure our capacities and qualities against strong teams like Shakhtar and Zenit.
“We want to honour the name of Zamalek because it is a big club with a big name and a big past and we are trying to rekindle that past and return the glory days.”
Reem Abulleil is an Egyptian reporter and sub-editor for UAE sports daily, Sport360, and holds a Masters Degree in Sports Journalism. She has also contributed to Eurosport, BBC World Service, The Guardian, Dubai TV and radio among other media outlets. You can follow her on Twitter @ReemAbulleil.