Exclusive interviews: Al Ahly in the eyes of their rivals



Tue, 31 Oct 2017 - 05:45 GMT


Tue, 31 Oct 2017 - 05:45 GMT

Al Ahly's Momen Zakaria celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS

Al Ahly's Momen Zakaria celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS

CAIRO – 31 October 2017: Al Ahly is one of the greatest teams in Africa. The team had many great achievements at the domestic and continental level that propelled it to the position of African club of the century.

Ahly has won many titles after beating other Arab giants. These games created many rivalries between Ahly and the fans of these teams.

Ahly has had major clashes against Tunisian clubs. They hve won three African Champions League titles after defeating Tunisian teams.

Nizar Ben Youssef, an Esperance die-hard fan, looks to Ahly with much respect. He told Egypt Today, “Ahly is the biggest obstacle that faces any team who wants to win the African title.”

Nizar added, “you can’t guarantee the result against Ahly as they can win at any time; they are a huge team with great mentality.”

Nizar believes that Ahly and Esperance have many things in common, sayong, “Ahly’s game against Esperance is the toughest derby in Africa. They have many similarities as they are the teams with most domestic titles and they are the most respected Arab clubs in Africa.”

Ahly defeated Esperance 2-1 in Tunisia in 2012, returning to Cairo with the title despite the 1-1 draw in the first leg. Nezar’s toughest moment against Ahly came month ago when Ahly eliminated Esperance from the 2017 CAF Champions League quarterfinals. The game was very similar to 2012.

Nizar spoke about the game, saying “we returned from Egypt with a great hopes, but Ahly punished us for our mistakes and won the game.”

Ahly faces Wydad Casablanca from Morocco on Saturday at the Champions League final second leg. Abdel Rahman Ait was asked about his opinion about the game. He said, “I am a fan of Raja Wydad local rivals, and I hope they defeat Ahly and win the title as they represent the whole country in that game.”

Abdel Rahman has so much respect for Ahly. He said, “Ahly is one of the biggest teams in Africa with many domestic and African titles, they have reached the final despite the fact that they are not at their best form.”

Halima Bensdedid is an Algerian girl who supports one of Algeria’s biggest clubs, Mouloudia Club d'Alger. Halime remembers the golden era of Ahly very well. She said “Ahly games with Algerian clubs are tough derbies especially in the era of Aboutrika.”

Mohamed Aboutrika represented Ahly from 2005 to 2013 and has a great reputation in Africa.

Halima recalls Ahly’s 0-0 draw against Mouloudia in 2011. She said, “Aboutrika received a standing ovation from the fans when substituted; it was a great image for Arab football. Aboutrika is my favorite player.”

Mohamed boutrika played 9 years for Al Ahly, Reuters

Ahly faces Wydad Casablanca on Saturday night at the CAF Champions League final second leg. Ahly fans hope to continue dominating Arab clubs in the competition and win the title.



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