Zamalek will be without fullback Ali Fathi in their African clash against Wydad (Photo: Ahram)
Zamalek will have to cope without a natural left-back against Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League semi-final as Ali Fathi has been ruled out of both legs.
Chasing their first Champions League title since 2002, Zamalek would have preferred to prepare for their 16 September clash against the Moroccans at home with a fully fit squad, a prospect that now seems far-fetched.
"The player is suffering from inflammation of a knee tendon," Zamalek doctor Mostafa El-Monayeri told FilGoal.com.
"It's thus unlikely for him to feature in both legs of the semi-finals, but whether he would be able to play in the final – should Zamalek reach the stage – remains to be seen."
The left-back dilemma arose as a result of Zamalek offloading left-back Mohamed Adel Gomaa and converted centre-back Hamada Tolba, who departed for Ismaily and Masry respectively in the close season.
The release of the duo came as a part of a squad reshuffle undertaken following Zamalek's failure to retain their league title - which they eventually lost to arch-rivals Ahly.
And with Zamalek having only a limited number of slots in their African squad, the Cairo giants opted to register forward Stanley Ohawuchi, defender Islam Gamal and full-back Fathi – leaving them with a single left-back.
Midfielder Ramzi Khaled, who joined Zamalek in January from Alexandria's Ittihad, is likely to deputise for Fathi having filled in as left-back against Nigeria's Enyimba, a 1-0 home win that guaranteed the Cairo side a semi-final berth.
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