Since joining Zamalek at the start of this season, expectations were high of Swiss tactician Christian Gross. Till now, he appears to have met his expectations. He is one step away from writing history, with the Egyptian giants chasing their first ever CAF Confederation Cup title, their first continental trophy since 2003.
Gross, 64, took the hot seat at Cairo-based Zamalek last July, a job that had seen almost 18 coaches in the past three seasons. But he has proven to be the right man, winning the hearts of the Zamalek faithful with time. The former Tottenham Hotspur manager is dreaming of returning the White Knights to the coronation stages on the continental scene after a 16-year hiatus.
A defender in his playing days with many Swiss sides including Grasshopper, Lausanne, Neuchatel Xamax, St. Gallen and Lugano besides German side VfL Bochum, Gross started his managerial career in 1988 with lower division side Wil. Later, he led Grasshopper to two Swiss League titles, before moving to English side Tottenham in 1997, the first ever Swiss coach in the history of the Premier League.
After barely a year in London, Gross returned home to coach Basel, with whom he won four Swiss League titles and as much in the Swiss Cup. In 2009, he joined Bundesliga side VFB Stuttgart before having spells with Young Boys (Swirzerland) and Al Ahli Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where he achieved domestic double in 2016 (League and Cup triumph).
With Zamalek, Gross has played 45 games in all competitions, winning 30, drawn 11 with four losses. His side reached the final of the second tier CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in their history, despite a slow start to their group stage campaign.
On the domestic front, Zamalek sit second on the 18-club Egyptian Premier League standings, four points shy of eternal rivals Al Ahly with a game in hand, and four matches remaining. The White Knights are also in the quarters of the Egyptian Cup.
With the 2018-19 Total CAF Confederation Cup final approaching, Gross is dreaming of bringing a CAF trophy back to the cabinet of the club that has nine continental trophies in the past, including five Champions League titles.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)