Egyptian club Ahly are taking the Cairo derby against Zamalek scheduled for Saturday "very seriously," refusing to rest players despite the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr feast holidays.
"The Zamalek game is a championship on its own. The technical staff is taking it very seriously. Winning would complete the league title celebrations," the Cairo giants right winger Bassem Ali told the club's official website Thursday morning.
The Reds secured the domestic title with a win over Ismaily before they were held by Ittihad of Alexandria. They collected 75 points, seven ahead of Cairo rivals Zamalek who won title last season for first time since 2004.
"We want to end the season very strongly. We earned the league crowning. We will be doing our best Saturday but it's hard to predict the results," Ali added.
Ahly, who won their 38th league title, are preparing their full-power squad for the match against bitter rivals Zamalek.
"We respect Zamalek team. They are a big oponnent," Ahly skipper Hossam Ghaly insisted wishing the game would end without troubles.
Fathy and Ashour is ready, Sobhi unconfirmed yet
Ahly rising star midfielder Ramadan Sobhi, currently being courted by Stoke City, has finalised a rehabilitation programme following a calf injury.
"Sobhi's participation will be decided Thursday night after checking medical scans," the club stated.
Experienced midfielders Ahmed Fathy and Hossam Ashour have also recovered from minor injuries and joined regular trainings. Abdallah El-Saied and Malick Evouna will miss the match.
Negotiations are ongoing regarding the Cairo derby's venue as security authorities want to hold it in Suez while Zamalek object to holding it outside Cairo "because ... the match will be held behind closed doors."
Ahly are facing trouble continentally losing two CAF Champions League group stage matches against Zesco United of Zambia (3-2 away) and Ivory Coast's Asec Mimosa (2-1 at home).
"Zamalek game is the best preperation for Wydad," Ghaly stressed.
The record holders of eight Champions League trophies will next face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, with the home and away games scheduled for 16 and 27 July.
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