EXCLUSIVE: ‘It is more than a club, it is a nation’ - Al Ahly from fans’ perspective



Thu, 02 Nov 2017 - 04:02 GMT


Thu, 02 Nov 2017 - 04:02 GMT

Soccer Football - CAF Champions League - Final - Al Ahly vs Wydad Casablanca - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - October 28, 2017 General view of Al Ahly fans - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Soccer Football - CAF Champions League - Final - Al Ahly vs Wydad Casablanca - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - October 28, 2017 General view of Al Ahly fans - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

CAIRO – 2 November 2017: Al Ahly is one of the best teams in Egypt and Africa is known worldwide for their eagerness to win every title.

Al Ahly, based in Cairo, has a huge fan base all over Egypt and the Arab World. Al Ahly fans look to their team with too much love, admiration and pride.

“It is more than a club; it is a nation.” That is what Hussein Ahmed, a taxi driver in Cairo, chose to start his speech about his beloved team Al Ahly with. Hussein, 47, inherited his love for Ahly from his father who was a die-hard fan.

“All my family supports Al Ahly. My father passed on to me the true meaning of being a fan for Al Ahly and I passed it on to my son who became more of a fan than I am.”

One of Hussein’s most memorable nights came when he spent it in jail after being embroiled in a street fight. That night, marked so vividly in his mind, helped him realize just how much it meant to be an Ahly fan; a citizen in a country crazed with football.

Hussein narrated; “On that night, Al Ahly was playing a game in the Egyptian League; the prisoners before the game succeeded to smuggle a small radio so that we could listen to the game. They took a lot of precautions so as not to get caught. They expected severe punishments if caught, but Al Ahly mean more to their fans than anyone could possibly think.”

To support Al Ahly is a great thing, but to play for Al Ahly is a very different experience.

Mahmoud Said was Al Ahly’s goalkeeper ever since he moved from Suez to Cairo at 10; Al Ahly scouts signed him after watching a game between his local team and Al Ahly.

“Playing for Al Ahly is a great experience. The fans treat you like a star no matter how old you are,” Mahmoud stated to Egypt Today.

Mahmoud added, “Playing for Al Ahly, you learn that winning is the normal thing and losing is forbidden, it is something you adjust to with your first step inside the club.”

“It is every player’s dream. Even if you are playing for Zamalek (Al Ahly’s local rivals), you cannot reject Al Ahly if they ask for you,” he relayed.

Mahmoud played alongside Al Ahly’s current players; Saad Samir, Hussein El Sayed and Hesham Mohamed; he has been representing Al Ahly for 11 years. He was in the first team’s score sheet in two games against Al Masry and Al Ittihad.

Mahmoud spoke about the competition the players find themselves in to win a regular place in Al Ahly’s squad; “Playing for Al Ahly means you are the best, you are competing with the best players in Egypt and you are in a competition with every player in Egypt who dreams to be in your place.”

Mahmoud left Al Ahly at 21 and since then has had a long journey with other Egyptian teams; nevertheless, wearing Al Ahly’s shirt is still one of the few things that fill him with pride.

Ahmed H., who requested that his last name remain anonymous, is a die-hard Al Ahly fan who spent most of his day thinking, reading and writing about Al Ahly. Ahmed looks to Al Ahly as his idols.

“When I was young, I was just a fan who loves watching the team but after that they turned into idols; teaching me many principles in life,” Ahmed told Egypt Today.

“Al Ahly taught me to fight till the last second for my goals,” he said.

Ahmed remembers many great moments with Al Ahly; “Al Ahly won many titles since I started following the team but the title that I remember most is the one Al Ahly won in the last minutes like 1992’s Egypt Cup, 1996’s Egyptian League, 2006’s CAF Champions League and 2014’s CAF Confederation Cup.”

Ahmed spoke about Al Ahly’s popularity in Egypt, stating that “70 percent of football fans in Egypt support Al Ahly; Al Ahly is the people’s club.”

Al Ahly faces Wydad Casablanca at the CAF Champions League final second leg on Saturday and their fans hope to add another title to their display case which is already bursting with trophies.



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