Of course it had been brewing at Orlando Pirates, with the South African club losing three matches inside one week.
Talk of hitherto Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic’s leaving was high, and when the Serbian finally quit on Friday, saying he was taking time off to be with his bedridden mother, vibes of him joining Zamalek simply could not go away.
Indeed, Egyptian Premier League (EPL) giants, Zamalek, shortly announced they had secured the Serbian’s signature as their manager.
Micho’s move continues an exodus of players and managers joining Egyptian teams, with his successor at Cranes Sebastien Desabre (Pyramids FC), Cranes stars Abdu Lumala, Khalid Aucho and Emmanuel Okwi among others all heading north.
The Caf Confederation Cup winners had been searching for a new manager since Khaled Galal was fired last month following a defeat to arch-rivals Al Ahly.
Galal was appointed as the Whites’ head coach in May, succeeding Christian Gross, whose contract was not extended due to his high wage demands.
Ever since, the North Africans’ have interviewed several candidates for the vacant job, including Ramón Díaz, and former managers Jaime Pacheco and Jesualdo Ferreira.
And when the decision finally came, it was not without drama. Earlier last Thursday, Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour had announced Micho’s countrymate Aleksandar Stanojević as their new manager. Only for him to reveal two days later that Micho, actually, is.
Speaking on Saturday, Mansour told Egyptian Al Mehwar TV channel: “Micho was our first choice. Tarek Yehia (current interim manager) will be his assistant, Ayman Abdelaziz will be appointed as team coordinator, and Amir Mortada will continue in his role as director of football.”
Asked why Stanojević had been first announced as the club’s new manager, he said: “Stanojević will not take charge of Zamalek. It was a trick to find out who the club’s enemies are and I exposed them in front of everyone.”
Micho will immediately lead the team in the Caf Champions League and the Egypt Cup.
The 49-year-old has been at Pirates since August 2017, managing 80 games across all competitions and winning 38, drawing 26, and losing 16.
Prior to that, he managed the Uganda Cranes, ending the four-decade absence from Africa Cup of Nations and coming close to reaching the 2018 World Cup before crossing to Pirates. Micho also managed Sudan’s Al Hilal, Tanzania’s Young Africans, Saint George of Ethiopia, and SC Villa, with whom he won three successive league titles.
His last title in management came in 2015, when guided Uganda to the Cecafa Cup.