CAIRO: Zamalek coach Reiner Hollmann hit out at Confederation of African Football (CAF) for setting an afternoon kick-off for his side’s clash against Dynamos Harare.
The German tactician believes it will be unfair for Zamalek players to play while fasting in Sunday’s Champions League encounter.
“The fact that my players will be fasting should have been taken into consideration by CAF, Hollmann told a press conference on Wednesday.
“They should have chosen a time that suits both teams. Zamalek must have as equal chances as those of Dynamos.
“However, I fully trust my players’ abilities to claim all three points and qualify for the semi-final.
Zamalek need to beat Zimbabwe’s Dynamos in Harare and hope Ahly don’t lose against ASEC Mimosas to book a place in the Champions League semis.
“I will not be concerned with what Ahly do against ASEC. I just want Zamalek to win irrespective of any other result.
Hollmann was content that Zamalek were able to play out a 2-2 draw against arch-rivals Ahly in last Sunday’s Cairo derby even though the White Knights were seeking a much-needed win.
The 59-year-old believes it would have been difficult for Zamalek to emerge winners with a depleted squad.
“Yes, I sought a win against Ahly but the result was satisfying, given that we played the match without several regulars.
“Zamalek have been the unluckiest team in Group A. We played every match amid injury and suspension problems.
“None of our competitors suffered similar problems, added Hollmann, who coached Ahly in the mid 1990s.
The record of injuries would still haunt the Cairo team in this critical game as Junior Agogo might not take part in the game due to injury.
“Agogo might not be able to participate in the game, Hollmann said. “He is suffering from knee pain. He is undergoing intensive treatment in order to recover in time for the crucial encounter.
The Ghanaian striker, who scored in Zamalek’s 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Ahly, adds to Zamalek worries ahead of Sunday’s match.
Forward Gamal Hamza, who usually partners Agogo upfront, will miss the match as he serves an automatic suspension.
Hollmann will have no choice but to rely on Mostafa Gaafar, Abdel-Halim Ali and Sherif Ashraf although the trio failed to impress this season.
There will also be shortage of options at the back.
Influential sweeper Hani Saied has been ruled out due to a thigh injury while defender Mahmoud Fathallah remains doubtful as he is nursing a knee problem.
Defender Amr Al-Safti will also be out due to suspension.