What you need to know:
- On Tuesday morning, 24 Zamalek players and members of the technical bench jetted into the country four days ahead of the clash whose return leg will be played a week later in Cairo
- Unlike other teams who arrive for international matches two days to the game, Zamalek have arrived early to acclimatise to the Kenyan weather and look keen to beat Tusker in Nairobi
- Last time Zamalek were in the country was in February 2019 when they lost 4-2 to record league champions Gor Mahia in the Caf Confederations Cup group stage clash
Four-time Egyptian champions Zamalek SC are leaving nothing to chance ahead of their first round Caf Champions League clash against local champions Tusker on Saturday.
The match will be played behind closed doors at the Nyayo National Stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions on Saturday from 4pm.
On Tuesday morning, 24 players and members of the technical bench jetted into the country four days ahead of the clash whose return leg will be played a week later in Cairo.
The team is currently putting up at a local hotel and will start their training sessions on Wednesday at Utalii Grounds before undergoing Covid-19 test on Thursday.
Zamalek will then have a feel of the match venue on Friday evening. Among the stars in the 24 man squad are Egypt left back Abdalla Goma, midfielder Mohammed Shikabala, striker Seif Jaziri and new Ivorian acquisition Razzaq Sisih.
Unlike other teams who arrive for international matches two days to the game, Zamalek have arrived early to acclimatise to the Kenyan weather and look keen to beat Tusker in Nairobi.
Last time Zamalek were in the country was in February 2019 when they lost 4-2 to record league champions Gor Mahia in the Caf Confederations Cup group stage clash.
Rwandese Jack Tuyisenge bagged a brace as Nicholas Kipkirui and Dennis "The Menace" Oliech scored a goal each for Gor under then Turkish tactician Hassan Oktay.
However, the Egyptian side avenged the defeat in the second leg outclassing K’Ogalo 4-0 in Cairo.
While Tusker won the 2020/21 title after finishing top of the 18-team table with 65 points from 34 matches, Zamalek won the Egyptian crown after collecting 80 points from 34 matches.
The Egyptian side got a bye in the preliminary round due to their dominance in the continental scene while Tusker edged out Arta Solar 7 of Djibouti 4-1 on aggregate after 1-1 draw away on September 11 and 3-0 triumph at Nyayo National Stadium on September 18 in the preliminary round.
The winner of the two-leg match will qualify for the group stage which comes with Sh55 million cash prize.
Zamalek emerged runners-up in the Caf Champions League last year losing 2-1 to arch rivals Al Ahly while last season they crashed out of the competition in the group stage.
Zamalek have a good record in the continental stage having won the Caf Champions League five times, finished as runners-up thrice and won the Caf Super Cup four times.
The Egyptian football giants have also bagged the Caf Confederation Cup four times and emerged runners-up once.
Mohamed Gabal, Mohamed Awaad
Mahmoud Alaa, Mohammed Elwenesh, Hazem Emam, Abdallah Goma, Ahmed Fatoo, Ahmed Zaky, Hamza Mathlouthi, Mohammed Abdelshafy, Habd Elmeged
Tarek Hamed, Emam Ashour, Mohammed Abdelaziz, Mohamed Rouqa, Hamdy Alaa, Eslam Gaber, Youssef Obama and Ahmed Sayed, Mahmoud Abdelrazek Fadlallah and Achraf Bencharki
Seif Jaziri, Saif Gaagar and Abdullah Nimar