Zamalek will have to do without Mohamed Koffi until Burkina Faso finish their African Cup of Nations campaign as the burly central midfielder joined up with his national team ahead of the 17 January-8 February tournament.
The 27-year-old has been a revelation since joining Zamalek in the close season on a free transfer, putting in a number of solid displays at the heart of a four-man backline.
He has been lauded for his never-say-day attitude and timely interceptions as Zamalek have only leaked eight Egyptian Premier League goals so far this season, the fewest among the 20 teams.
Koff's Zamalek tenure started in disappointing fashion when he skied high over the bar a decisive penalty which would have given the White Knights a long-awaited victory over arch-rivals in the Egyptian Super Cup.
Ahly made the most of his miss to prevail in the shootout and heap more Cairo derby misery on their cross-town foes.
However, Koffi, who shed tears following the final whistle, has quickly picked himself up to become a fan favourite.
Zamalek will have to start coping without him when they face Petrojet in their next league game on 3 January.
Burkina Faso will play in Group A of the Nations along with hosts Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo. Koffi was an integral member of the Burkina Faso which reached the final in 2013 before losing to winners Nigeria.
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