CAIRO: Zamalek board member and former long-standing captain Hazem Emam backed under-fire striker Ahmed Gaafar before the Cairo derby against Ahly.
Gaafar scored seven times this season but has been struggling to find the net in the last three games.
His reactions after missing the goal from a comfortable header during the 2-1 defeat against Harras Al-Hodoud showed how frustrated he is, especially after fans voiced their dissatisfaction.
But Emam leaped to defend him before the Friday clash.
Yes, he suffers a dip in form. But it s unfair to criticize him like this, Emam told FilGoal.com.
This is his first season with Zamalek after joining from a team who got relegated to the second division (Telecom Egypt).
He plays as a lone striker and it is sort of new for him.
Emam compared Gaafar s contribution to what Mido and Amr Zaki offered during the first half of the season with Zamalek.
Both international forwards started the season with the team, but they left in January on loan deals as Zaki joined Hull City and Mido signed for West Ham.
With all their experience in international and European football, Mido and Zaki didn t make a fraction of Gaafar s contribution, Emam said.
Mido scored only once in the 1-1 draw with Gouna while Zaki didn t find the net.