Zamalek are not thinking straight these days. On the one hand their LE1,000 a day Ghanaian import Junior Agogo has proved a complete dud but on the other they are incensed he was slapped with a three-match ban.
On the one hand they are happy that today s derby with Ahly has been postponed because that will allow Agogo to serve the ban before playing in the rescheduled game. But on the other hand they are unhappy that the famed derby has been postponed, the logic being Ahly are ripe for the picking after a grueling week of African and international duty.
On the other hand they didn t want to play the match before Ahly play their five games in hand.
If there was ever convoluted logic, these are first class examples. Have pity on the individual who must explain.
We ll start from nowhere in particular. Agogo must serve the three-match ban because he was caught on camera in a league game expressing frustrated thoughts with the help of his middle index finger. The referee did not see the expletive but the football federation did on TV replays. Zamalek are incensed that Agogo should be penalized for doing something that neither the referee nor his assistants saw him doing.
The Zamalek contention that TV replays catching a violation for disorderly conduct on the field cannot be used is false; they can be used, but only after a game, not during play. When Zinedine Zidane head butted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final, the referee did not see the infringement but one of his assistants did. The assistant insisted he had seen the foul as it happened, without the use of a monitor, because video technology cannot be used as a basis for a refereeing decision during a game. But it can be used afterwards.
Zamalek s criticism about the role of TV is not confined to the Agogo incident; they have a general gripe with Egyptian TV which the club claims is out to get the side. They are incensed that TV cameras constantly zoom in on Zamalek fouls and constantly replay in slow motion their players exhibiting all the assorted pleasantries of everyday games – scratching crotches, spitting on the field and squeezing noses to jettison out mucus.
Zamalek vow to bring up these grand matters of TV directorial bias with the information minister. The minister is advised to listen on an empty stomach.
So why are Zamalek strongly objecting to Agogo s suspension, even though he has shown next to nothing in terms of the goal scoring exploits of the player he replaced, current Wigan hero and star Premiership striker Amr Zaki? It has something to do with principle, but one which is misplaced.
Zamalek do have a point though about Ahly s five postponed matches. The Egyptian league is in its 12th week, yet Ahly have played just seven games.
Ahly currently lie in fifth place with 16 points, nine behind leaders Petrojet, and two points behind Zamalek who have played 10 matches. The point is, from their current vantage point, Ahly can see the future clearly. They know exactly what they have to do – who they have to beat and how many times they can afford to draw or even lose before catching up with and eventually passing Petrojet and all the rest.
This is a clear advantage for Ahly over the other clubs who have played more or less the same number of matches, and it is unfair. If all 16 teams in the league are equal in the number of their matches played, every team s crystal ball would be foggy. That s parity.
Zamalek are a confused lot these days, buffeted so much that it s hard to pinpoint what irks them most. That they were dumped out of the African Champions League in the early group phase. That their downtown rivals Ahly have won yet another African Champions League and are getting all the adulation that goes with it, including an all-expense paid trip to Japan for the World Club Championship.
That after a good start in the league, their dreams of a title after a four-year drought have evaporated rapidly after losses and draws to the lowest teams.That their president recently resigned.
That Agogo was banned. That Agogo has been a monumental disappointment.
That today s match with Ahly was postponed. That it s good today s match was postponed.
The match was postponed because of a dispute over TV broadcasting rights. There is confusion over who owns broadcasting rights in Egypt because there are no definite regulations that clarify the matter.
But enough confusion for today.