Zamalek brace for Ahly clash in African derby
Whites begin preparations for upcoming match against Ahly in final round of African Champions League group stage on 16 September
Ahmed Abd El Rasoul
, Tuesday 4 Sep 2012
Egypt's El Zamalek's players pose for a photograph before their African Champions League (CAF) soccer match aginst Egypt's Al Ahly match at the Military Stadium in Cairo July 22, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian football club Zamalek will play two friendly matches within the context of preparations for their anticipated derby with Cairo rivals Ahly in the final round of the African Champions League group stage slated for 16 September.
The match will be held behind closed doors in Alexandria's Borg Al-Arab Stadium for security reasons.
"On Wednesday, the team will begin a closed training camp in 6 October City to prepare for the game," Zamalek assistant coach Osama Nabih told the club's official website.
"We will play two friendly matches – on 8 and 12 September – at the training camp," he added.
Ahly have already booked their place in the semi-finals, while the Whites have lost any hope of qualifying after their disastrous campaign.
Despite Sunday's 2-0 loss to DR Congo's TP Mazembe, Ahly are on top of Group B with ten points, alongside the Congolese team, while Zamalek – who were held to a 1-1 draw with Ghanaian side Berekum Chelsea – is currently at the bottom with only one point.
Ahly now have to beat Zamalek and are hoping Mazembe do not overcome Chelsea – the third with six points – in their last game to advance as group winners, as DR Congo enjoy a better head-to-head record.
The Red Devils hope to avoid a tricky semi-final clash against Group A leaders Esperance of Tunisia, who knocked them out at the same stage two years ago on the away-goals rule following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Ahly beat Zamalek 1-0 last month behind closed doors in the first Cairo derby to be held in the absence of fans.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)