Last Update 19:21
Friday, 15 November 2019

Preview: Zamalek to host Arab Contractors on Saturday despite rescheduling controversy

Both teams have retracted an initial refusal to play the match, which was moved forward to replace a derby that was postponed for security reasons

Mahmoud Sheleib, Friday 18 Oct 2019
Zamalek v the Arab Contractors
Zamalek v Arab Contractors (Ahram)
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Zamalek will host the Arab Contractors on Saturday evening at El-Salam Stadium in a rescheduled game from the fifth round of the Egyptian Premier League, which was originally set for 23 October.

The Arab Contractors match would have clashed with the Confederation of African Football Champions League preliminary round match Zamalek was scheduled to play on 24 October.

The game was moved forward after a Zamalek-Ahly derby scheduled for Saturday was postponed for security reasons.

The Egyptian Football Association’s (EFA) decision to reschedule the derby earlier this week was subject to a wave of criticism from Premier League clubs.

Both Zamalek and the Arab Contractors initially refused to play the rescheduled match when the date was announced, but have since changed their stances.

The Zamalek president initially said that his club respects the security instructions regarding the derby, but at the same time rejects the decision to play the Contractors. He later said that Zamalek would play the game on Saturday out of respect for the security authorities.

Officials from the Arab Contractors have also said they will play the game tomorrow as scheduled "for the nation's best interests."

Zamalek is currently fourth in the Egyptian Premier League on seven points from two victories and a single draw, while the Arab Contractors are in third place, also on seven points and also on two wins and a draw.

Many other teams have requested their league matches be postponed after the EFA announcement, to even out the inequality in the number of rest days that the new schedule creates.

Smouha has officially requested the EFA delay their game against the Pyramids on Thursday.

Gouna sent an official letter to the EFA requesting their match against FC Masr, also scheduled for Thursday, be postponed. Gouna are supposed to host Ahly in the league's fifth round on 23 October.

Ahly, the Premier League champions, said on Thursday that they would refuse to play in the Premier League until they played their postponed match against Zamalek, ramping up the pressure on the footballing authorities.

The new date for the derby has yet to be announced.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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