Preview: Ahly, Zamalek clash in historic Egypt Cup final in Saudi Arabia

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 8 Mar 2024

Ahly and Zamalek will face off in the Egypt Cup final in Saudi Arabia on Friday, marking the first time in the competition's history the match will be held abroad.

Ahly and Zamalek


The winner of the final will not only claim the prestigious title but will also receive additional prize money, making this edition of the tournament the most lucrative domestic one to date.

Egypt Cup, which originated in 1921, has always been played in the country, with Ahly holding the record for the most titles at 38, while Zamalek are bidding for their 29th championship.

However, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced that Riyadh's Alawwal Park in Saudi Arabia has been chosen as the venue for the 2022-23 Egypt Cup final, scheduled to kick off at 19:30 Cairo local time (GMT +2).

Money talks

The organizing committee of the Egypt Cup final has made this edition historic by offering substantial cash prizes to the participants.

The winners will receive a total of  $950,000, in addition to $50,000 for the best player in the game. 

The standard prize money for the Egypt Cup, as determined by the EFA, is EGP 1.5 million for the winner and EGP 1 million for the runner-up.

Furthermore, fans who accurately predict the match result will have the chance to win $60,000.

The game will be officiated by a foreign referee crew led by Brazilian referee Anderson Daronco.

Ahly after perfect run

Defending champions Ahly secured their place in the final with an impressive 3-0 victory over Enppi in the semi-finals.

Under the guidance of Swiss coach Marcel Koller, the Red Devils have been in excellent form and will enter the final with a positive mindset, relying on their previous victories over Zamalek.

However, Ahly will be without key players including first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, defender Yasser Ibrahim, Malian midfielder Alio Dieng, and promising Palestinian striker Wessam Abou Ali, all due to injuries.

Despite these absences, Koller expressed confidence in his experienced squad's ability to handle the game.

"We have several absences, but the team has many experienced players capable of dealing with this type of game," Ahly coach Marcel Koller said during the pre-match news conference.



Koller excluded winger Ahmed Abdel-Kader, defender Mahmoud Metwally, and Tunisian forward Mohamed Dhaoui due to their lack of readiness.

Ahly defeated Zamalek three times this season, with scores of 2-0, 3-0, and 4-1.

"Games against Zamalek are always difficult. They are a good team, and our wins against them were the result of good preparation and hard work. Despite these wins, I don't have a recipe to guarantee victory," said Koller, who acknowledged the challenge posed by Zamalek.

Zamalek's quest for glory

Zamalek, led by the newly elected board and Portuguese coach Jose Gomes, are determined to secure their first title of the season.



The White Knights reached the Egypt Cup final after an exhilarating encounter with Pyramids FC, which ended in a 3-3 draw in regular time and was decided by penalties, with Zamalek emerging victorious with a 4-3 scoreline.

Gomes, who began his tenure in early February, guided Zamalek to two wins and one draw across various competitions.

"I started my mission with Ahly Jeddah with the Saudi Cup title, and I want to do the same thing with Zamalek by winning the Egypt Cup. My current target with Zamalek is to secure the first trophy and bring joy to the White Castle's supporters," Gomes said at the pre-game press conference.

Gomes added: "Zamalek is a big team accustomed to winning titles, and we need to confirm this fact against Ahly in the final."

Zamalek will be missing veteran defenders Mahmoud 'El-Wensh' Hamdi and Mohamed Abdel-Shafi, who underwent surgery to repair ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in their knees.

Gomes will rely on the experience of playmakers Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdel-Razek and newly signed Abdallah El-Said, as well as wingers Ahmed 'Zizo' Sayed, Nasser Maher, and Tunisian goal machine Seifeddin Jaziri in the frontline.

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

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