Egypt’s Zamalek president Mortada Mansour said he wants the team to play the CAF Champions League match against Senegal’s Generation Foot at Cairo Stadium amid the presence of 80,000 of the club’s supporters, and asked the football association to postpone the anticipated league derby against rivals Ahly on 19 October.
“I don’t see a reasonable reason for repeating the match. We won’t play behind closed doors. We want to play the game at Cairo International Stadium amid the presence of 70,000 or 80,000 supporters,” Mansour told El-Hadath El-Youm TV channel early on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, African football governing body CAF announced that Zamalek’s Champions League clash at home against Generation Foot, which was called off last month after the Senegalese side failed to show up, will still be held on 24 October.
The two sides were originally scheduled to meet in Cairo on 28 September in the second leg of the competition’s second round, but CAF agreed in a letter sent to Zamalek to postpone the match for one day upon the Egyptian club’s request, given security concerns in the capital.
But citing CAF’s regulations, which require the approval of the visiting team in case of any such short notice changes, Generation Foot decided not to play the match at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium on 29 September.
CAF said on Tuesday that Zamalek will confirm the venue (stadium) for the game by Saturday 12 October at the latest.
“Moving the match to Borg El-Arab Stadium last time cost us about EGP 1 million and affected our players’ concentration negatively, so we are sticking to playing the game this time at Cairo Stadium,” the Zamalek president added.
According to Mansour, Zamalek are now facing a dilemma as they are supposed to face archrivals Ahly in the Egyptian league derby on 19 October before facing Arab Contractors four days later, just one day ahead of the new date of the Champions league match.
Mansour has asked for the postponing of the derby match amid a reported refusal from the football association officials.
“They say the that league schedule is not changeable, while we have to face Arab Contractors in the domestic league on 24 October. Is it reasonable to play the Contractors match just one day before thr Generation Foot match?” he said.
“We have the full right to postpone the derby, especially since Ahly had nine matches postponed last season due to their participation in the Champions League, so why the rejection for Zamalek?” he asked.
Zamalek dealt a 2-1 away loss in the first leg on 14 September.
The five-time Champions League winners Zamalek just need to win 1-0 in the return match against Generation Foot to book a place in the group stage.
Source: Ahram Online