• Eredivisie: Ziyech prepares to face fellow Moroccans in Amsterdam derby

    (BBC Sport) Hakim Ziyech will put friendships aside when his Ajax Amsterdam side face Feyenoord on Sunday.

    Morocco's contingent of Dutch-born footballers are all good friends off the field but that, says Ajax Amsterdam's Hakim Ziyech, is all put aside this Sunday when his club take on champions Feyenoord Rotterdam, captained by Karim El Ahmadi.

    "It is always nice to meet your friends on the pitch, especially my teammates from the national team," Ziyech told BBC Sport on Friday.

    "We have a good relationship off the field. We are good friends and we go for dinner and stuff like that.

    "But before this game, there's no communication!" Ziyech added.

    Ziyech lines up against Morocco skipper El Ahmadi in the midfield battle while Feyenoord are also expected to field Sofyan Amrabat, who like Ziyech opted to play for Morocco rather than the Netherlands national team.

    The much anticipated clash marks the return of league action after the winter break and dominates this weekend's sporting agenda in the Netherlands.

    "You can see this game a little like the clash in Spain between Real (Madrid) and Barcelona ... the hate … between the supporters. We are two big clubs in the league so that's why it is such an important match," Ziyech added.

    Ajax won four league titles in a row between 2011 and 2014 but finished second in each of the three subsequent seasons.

    Last season, Feyenoord returned to former glories as they won the Dutch championship for the first time in 18 years with El Ahmadi named as the league's best player.

    This season, PSV Eindhoven - the other of the three Dutch clubs to have won the European Cup - have a five point lead at the top of the table, but Ziyech believes Ajax can haul them in.

    "Five points is not much. At the beginning of the season we had been 10 points behind so we can make it up."

    Ajax play on Sunday under a new coach in Erik ten Hag, appointed earlier this month after previous incumbent Marcel Keizer was fired in December.

    "It is different but we are getting ready," was all Ziyech offered up in answer to how things were going with the new man in charge.

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