Egypt Olympic team manager Hany Ramzy decided on Wednesday to release Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy and striker Omar Gaber from their France training camp to play with their club in the CAF Champions League.
The coach of the young Pharaohs, who are finalising preparations for the 2012 London Olympic games, had earlier refused to release the players, saying he needed all his squad elements on the Olympic team. "Egypt is above Ahly, Zamalek and all clubs," he was quoted as saying.
Zamalek coach Hassan Shehata, for his part, stated that the two international youngsters were vital to his team ahead of a CAF Champions’ League Group-B match against archrivals Ahly next Sunday. He accused Ramzy of harbouring a "bias towards Ahly."
Shehata, a former Egypt senior team coach, later negotiated with Ramzy to allow the players to join their club, leaving two empty spots in the 22-man squad that he had announced Tuesday night.
The Cairo derby will be played behind closed doors at Egypt's Military Academy Stadium due to the country's lingering security concerns.
Egypt, who are returning to the prestigious tournament for the first time in 20 years, have been drawn in Group C with the formidable Brazil, Belarus and New Zealand teams.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)