CAIRO: Liverpool and England legend John Barnes backed Zamalek to come out as winners from the Cairo derby on Friday.
Barnes is in Cairo for the Premier Skills program, a project run in partnership between the British Council and the Premier League that uses football as a tool to develop coaching skills and English language skills.
Barnes, who played 10 years for Liverpool and earned 79 international caps, said he has been hearing about the derby game since arriving in Egypt.
I know the two teams. Ahly were the African champions, playing in the world club championship, he told FilGoal.com in an exclusive interview.
But of course Hossam Hassan is managing Zamalek and I know him and his brother (Ibrahim). I played against them (in the World Cup) in 1990.
Ibrahim Hassan is seen as Egypt s most successful right-back and he had the tough task of neutralizing England s left-winger Barnes during the 1-0 defeat 20 years ago.
They are very excitable. I wish him (Hossam Hassan) well because he loves football and even from playing against him, you can see that he has a passion for the game, said Barnes.
They tell me Zamalek are the better team now so good luck to him.
Hossam Hassan was appointed as Zamalek manager 10 games into the league, when the team was in 13th place, one position away from the relegation zone.
He miraculously guided Zamalek to the second spot with 11 victories in 16 games, losing only twice.
Still, Zamalek play the derby with Ahly on top of the table. Ahly will retain the title for the sixth straight season should they beat their arch-rivals at the Cairo International Stadium.