Egypt Olympic coach Hany Ramzy refused to release four of his side’s members to take part in the Cairo derby as he insisted that the national team’s preparation is more important than the Champions League clash.
Ramzy’s men are preparing for the Olympic Games later in July as Zamalek and Ahli meet in the CAF Champions League next Sunday.
While having seven players from the Cairo giants in his 18-man squad, Ramzy only agreed to release senior Ahli trio Mohamed Abou-Treika, Ahmed Fathi and Emad Meteb.
His decision meant that Zamalek’s Omar Gaber and Ahmed Al-Shennawi and Ahli’s Saad Samir and Shehab Ahmed will remain with the national team.
“I can’t allow the four U-23 players to join their clubs for the Zamalek-Ahli game,” Ramzy told the Egyptian FA’s website.
“Egypt is above Ahli and Zamalek. It would be very difficult for our team to lose all those players just before our last warm-up match against Honduras on Thursday.
“I only allowed the senior trio to leave because there has been a friendly agreement with Ahli coach Hossam Al-Badri.
“I hope both clubs would pardon me and back the team at the Olympic Games.”
Zamalek claimed recently they have Ramzy’s word that Gaber and Al-Shennawi will return to their club ahead of the Cairo derby, warning of a ‘fierce dispute’ with the Olympic team’s management in case they didn’t show up.
Gaber, Al-Shennawi, Samir and Shehab are all regarded as backup players for Zamalek and Ahli.