Winning the anticipated Cairo derby against arch-rivals Zamalek wouldn’t secure the Egyptian Premier League title for Ahly, according to coach Martin Lasarte.
"The Zamalek match is important especially as it is a derby between the two teams," Lasarte said in an interview with Ahly's TV channel on Friday.
Champions Ahly are currently preparing for facing the Whites on 30 March, in a postponed league match from week 17 of the domestic league.
Ahly currently lie second at the league table with 51 points from 22 matches, just two behind leaders Zamalek.
"Winning the derby would put us in the lead, However, this doesn't mean that we ensured the title as the race is still open until the end of the competition," the Ahly coach explained.
Lasarte took the charge at Ahly last December; guiding the team in 16 matches in different competitions. Ahly won in 12 matches, drew in one and lost the remaining three.
Rotation a must for Lasarte
After the derby, Ahly will be facing South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter finals of the African Champions League. The first leg will be on 6 April, while the return match will be a week later.
"We are waiting a tense schedule during April whether in the Champions league or the domestic league so I will take important decisions regarding rotating our squad to avoid fatigue and also to give the chance to other players," the coach said.
"Sundowns’ match is difficult as we will be facing a big club, but also there is an advantage that we will play on good pitches against a respectable team.
"The big team must win at home and that what we already do, but at the same time we must work on securing positive results also in the away matches," he concluded.
The Red Devils, Ahly, have not lifted the Champions league title since 2013, having lost the 2017 and 2018 finals to Morocco's Wydad and Tunisia's Esperance respectively.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)