Egyptian Premier League holders Ahly will kick-off their title-defending bid in early August against tough Ismaily SC, while the Cup winners will play Petrojet SC. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) held the draw of the new season in their headquarters Sunday.
Cairo's arch-rivals will face-off at the end of the first and second rounds in the 17th and the 35th weeks, as the association excluded their matches from the draw as usual.
"We cannot determine the date of the competition's end as Ahly and Masry are engaged in continental commitments, in addition to the Arab tournament. We will schedule accordingly, since, as we hope, they may proceed further," the EFA's Competition Committee head Amer Hussien stated at the draw ceremony.
The African Champions League eight trophy record-holders are in a tough situation this time, lying at the bottom of Group A with only one point from their two opening matches.
After they were held to a goalless draw at home by Tunisian giants Esperance de Tunis before losing to Kampala 2-0, Ahly — under a newly-appointed French coach Patrice Carteron — will try to save the season against South Africa's Township Rollers on 17 July.
The Port-Said-based club Masry, who defeated Mozambique’s HCB Songo 2-0 in their opening game, are second in the African Confederation Cup group-after a late 1-1 equaliser against a 10-man Sudanese Al-Hilal (Omdurman).
The coastal club will play two-point-difference group leaders RSB Berkane of Morocco on 18 July away.
"Ahead is a long season that could last until next August, but we will compress our schedule at the beginning of the competition in an attempt to have regular schedule next season," Hussein concluded.
Egyptian Premier League- Week 1:
Haras El-Hodoud v El-Entag el-Harby
Talae El-Giesh v Nogoom el-Mostakbal
Smouha v Misr Lel-Makkasa
Arab Contractors v Ittihad of Alexandria
Zamalek v Petrojet
Ismaily v Ahly
Masry v Gouna
Wadi Degla v Dakhleya
Pyramids v ENPPI