Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host on Thursday the Egypt Super Cup between Al Ahly and Zamalek. This the fourth time the UAE is hosting the competition, having organised it in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
It will be Al Ahly’s Swiss coach René Weiler’s second Super Cup with the team after he winning the previous edition in September 2019 in Alexandria.
Weiler picked 25 players to participate in the game: Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed El Shennawy, Ali Lotfy, Rami Rabiaa, Mahmoud Metwally, Yasser Ibrahim, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Hani, Ayman Ashraf, Ali Maaloul, Hossam Ashour, Amr El-Soulia, Aliou Dieng, Mohamed Magdy (Afsha), Hussein El-Shahat, Geraldo, Junior Ajayi, Ramadan Sobhi, Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim (Kahraba), Walid Soleiman, Marwan Mohsen, Aliou Badji, Mahmoud Waheed, and Ahmed Al-Sheikh.
Ramadan Sobhi has been on the sidelines for several weeks due to an injury and the Thursday game against Zamalek may witness his return.
Al Ahly President Mahmoud El-Khatib met the players before traveling to the UAE. He said that winning the Super Cup would push the team forward before their clash with South African Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League on 29 February at Cairo International Stadium. Al Ahly promised EGP 40,000 rewards for each player if they won the title.
On the other side, Zamalek’s morale is sky high after they won the CAF Super Cup last week at the expense of ES Tunis. The White Knights lost the Egypt Super Cup to rivals Al Ahly last year, so it’s expected to be intense this year.
Zamalek’s French Patrice Carteron picked 27 players for the game: Mahmoud Gensh, Mohamad Abu Gabal, Mohamed Awad, Mohamed Sobhi, Abdullah Gomaa, Mohamed Abd El-Shafi, Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud al-Wensh, Mohamed Abdel Ghany, Mohamed Abd Al-Salam, Hazem Imam, Ahmad Eid, Tarek Hamed, Ferjani Sassi, Mohamed Hassan, Ahmed Sayed Zizou, Youssef Obama, Mostafa Fathi, Shikabala, Karim Bambo, Achraf Bencharki, Mohamed Ounajem, Mohamed Antar, Islam Gaber, Mostafa Mohamed, Kabongo Kasongo, and Omar Al Saeed.
Zamalek President Mortada Mansour motivated the players and promised them exceptional awards if they won the Super Cup.
Al Ahly won Egypt Super Cup 11 times in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018, while Zamalek won it three times in 2001, 2002, and 2016.
Special clash between Cairo rivals’ goalkeepers
Zamalek’s goalkeeper Mohamed Abu Gabal is expected to play the team’s next game against Al Ahly in the Egypt Super Cup on Thursday, after his impressive performance in the CAF Super Cup and the Egyptian Premier League.
Abu Gabal seized this rare chance and gained the confidence of the technical staff and fans as the first and second goalkeepers Mahmoud Genesh and Mohamed Awad were absent for weeks due to an injury of the former and fluctuated performance of the latter.
Abu Gabal looks forward to winning his first Egypt Super Cup title and add it to the CAF Super Cup Zamalek won a few days ago.
On the other side, Al Ahly’s goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawy has been playing consistently with the Red Devils and presented a fantastic performance, keeping his sheet clean in many games. He has been a key element in Al Ahly’s qualification into the CAF Champions League quarter-finals.
If Al Ahly won on Thursday, it would be El Shennawy’s third Super Cup with the team.
Fierce midfield battle between Tarek Hamed, Aliou Dieng
Midfield players of Al Ahly and Zamalek will have a strong encounter at the Egypt Super Cup on Thursday. Both teams have significant midfielders, most notably Tarek Hamed in Zamalek and Aliou Dieng in Al Ahly.
Hamed has so far been nothing short of excellent as Zamalek’s midfielder. He has made himself a key player for his club and forced his way into Egypt’s national team.
Hamed operates as a defensive midfielder and his game is based on raw power that can leave defenders trailing in his wake. He is solidly built and uses his strength to great effect, while also demonstrating impressive acceleration when running with the ball. He helped his team win the CAF Confederation Cup last year and the CAF Super Cup.
Aliou Dieng is widely regarded as one of the best in Al Ahly’s squad. The young Malian has been a roaring success since moving to the Red Devils last July from MC Algiers, and looks set to be a major figure in African football for some time to come. He uses his skill to great effect to create chances for both himself and teammates, besides his high interception rate and rare miss passes.
Dieng’s strength lies in his ability to blend deftness of touch with his imposing physique as he seeks to dominate the centre of the pitch. It is a balance that, as he gathers experience, is becoming increasingly easier to maintain.
If Al Ahly won on Thursday, it would be Dieng’s second Super Cup with the team.