Commemorating Port Said Stadium massacre



Fri, 01 Feb 2019 - 09:00 GMT


Fri, 01 Feb 2019 - 09:00 GMT

Blood is seen on a chair one day after supporters clash at the Port Said stadium, February 1, 2012 — Reuters

Blood is seen on a chair one day after supporters clash at the Port Said stadium, February 1, 2012 — Reuters

CAIRO – 1 February 2019: Egyptian people would have never imagine February 1, 2012 could turn become a day of tragedy, when 72 football fans were killed after a group of thugs attacked the stands during a game between Al Ahly and El-Masry at the Port Said Stadium.

Hundreds of Al Ahly fans left their homes to go to the Mediterranean city of Port Said (North East of Egypt) to support their beloved team in what was a decisive game in the league title race. Although the enthusiasm was drawn on their faces, the game’s circumstances became a dark night in Egyptian history.

On that ominous day, Egyptian fans expected a great football night as Al Ahly, in second place, prepared to face El Masry at 5:00 pm, while Zamalek, in third place, would host Ismaily at 7:00 pm at the Cairo stadium on the same day.

Al Ahly has a historic rivalry with the city giants, El Masry; their games, especially at Port Said, have been a joy to watch for football fans nationwide.

However, “there was an incomprehensible tense atmosphere ahead of the game. At one point, I had a feeling that the game must be postponed. No one can play football at such circumstances,” Hossamedin Bedier who followed the Egyptian sports channels pre match coverage narrated to Egypt Today.

FILE- Police react as chaos erupts at a soccer stadium in Port Said city – Reuters

Mohamed Amer, a diehard Zamalek fan who was following the game hoping for an Al Ahly loss, said, “at this time, we had a great team and we were seeking for the league title. I followed the game and I saw a flame thrown towards Al Ahly players at the warm up, but I never expected what happened at the end of the game.”

FILE- Police react as chaos erupts at a soccer stadium in Port Said city – Reuters

Despite this tension, the game started as Al Ahly opened the score after 10 minutes through a header from their Brazilian striker, Fabio Junior. They dominated the first half after the goal and ended the first half leading 1-0.

The danger signs started at half-time, when groups of El Masry fans started throwing flames onto the pitch while some invaded the pitch and ran towards Al Ahly fans. However, the stadium’s security officers succeeded to return them to their places before the second half.

FILE- An Egyptian policeman helps an injured football fan- Reuters

Everything changed in the second half; El Masry were the better side and created many chances to score. After 15 minutes, Al Ahly manager Manuel Jose asked the referee to stop the game after El Masry fans started to attack Al Ahly bench and again threw flames onto the pitch.

The game stopped for ten minutes and the camera displayed an El Masry fans inciting the other fans to continue their acts.

FILE- A soccer fan flees from the Port Said Stadium - Reuters

The game started again and El Masry equalized the score minutes later through Moamen Zakari, who doubled the score seven minutes from the final whistle.

The second goal celebration for El Masry was another dangerous sign, as their fans invaded the pitch to celebrate the goal with their players and they stayed on the pitch. Meanwhile, the security failed to control them.

FILE- Egyptian fans celebrate their team's win before rushing into the field - Reuters

El Masry striker Abdaalah Cisse scored the third goal that secured the victory for his team. After that, the pitch became chaotic with hundreds of El Masry fans invading to attack Al Ahly fans.

The security forces quickly escorted the players out of the stadium, but they let the fans to go to Al Ahly stands and the tragedy began.

FILE- Al Ahli soccer players try to leave the stadium as chaos erupts at a soccer stadium - Reuters

“I cannot forget Cisse dancing after his goal and El Masry fans celebrations with their manager, Hossam Hassan, while Al Ahly fans were killed by the thugs,“ Bedier told Egypt Today.

Mohamed Said, an Ismaily fan (a club with a fierce rivalry against Al-Ahly ) who was happy after Al Ahly lost, said “after the game I was happy and I shared my feelings with my friends on Facebook who told me to delete the post because there were victims.”

The Port Said Stadium was not the only arena that witnessed a state of clashes; the Cairo Stadium saw a big wave of protests from Zamalek fans, reacting to the Al Ahly victims. Zamalek fans burnt their banners before the half time when they knew that Al Ahly fans had been killed.

Mohamed Amer turned his TV quickly towards the Zamalek clash against Ismaily, saying, “I was watching the Zamalek game when I heard that Al Ahly fans have been attacked but I thought it was regular clashes. But after 20 minutes, I started to feel that it is something different and I started to hear about victims at Port Said.”

Mohamed Abbas’ illness prevented him from attending the game at Cairo stadium to support his beloved team, Zamalek, so he watched the game on a café. Recalling the day, he said, “Al Ahly’s loss is always a great joy for me. I was happy with the result and I started watching Zamalek game, but I could not concentrate anymore when I knew that there were victims.”

“The silence dominated the café and the news started to come with the number of victims, which was increasing minute by minute. It was one of the hardest days in my life,” Abbass added.

The camera showed Al Ahly’s dressing room with Al Ahly fans ran to protect their players from the assault, and Al Ahly medical staff started to help the injured fans.

At Port Said, an attempt was started by the city residents to save Al Ahly fans. Ahmed Bakr, a Port Said resident told Egypt Today, “the Locals in Port Said took Al Ahly fans from the stadium to the train station, and the ambulances transported the victims to the hospitals…blood donations continued till the end of the night. Everyone in Port Said was angry and felt that they would be blamed and forever held accountable for killing Al Ahly fans.”

FILE- An injured man is carried after arriving from Port Said at a train station in Cairo - Reuters

In Cairo, the victims’ families and other fans of al-Ahly rushed to the city’s train station at Ramses in Downtown to receive the fans returning from Port Said.

FILE- An injured man is carried after arriving from Port Said at a train station in Cairo - Reuters

“I could not follow Football in Egypt since that day. It was a hard day in my life as a football fan,” Abbass told Egypt Today.

Port Said was once recognized in the hearts of Egyptians for its rich history. Few would have expected that a city known for its resistance to the occupation during the early to mid-twentieth century would become a place of tragedy.

FILE- A blood-stained piece of cotton wool is seen on the ground one day - Reuters

Seven years later, football audiences still remember their feelings on the day when young, passionate fans brutally met their fate.

The 72 victims are:

Mahmoud Ghandour, Mahmoud Soliman, Karim Junior, Eslam Elwan, Ahmed Youssef, Mostafa Essam, Sayed Gouda, Mohamed Roshdy, Mohamed Samir, Mohamed Mahmoud, Ahmed Esmail, Mohamed Khater, Ahmed Zakaria, Ahmed Taha, Ahmed Soliman, Ahmed Osama, Ahmed Ezzat, Ahmed Fawzi, Ahmed Waggih, Osama Mostafa, Eslam Ahmed, Anas Mohy, Ayman Mohamed, Hamed Fathy, Hossam El Sayed, Hassan Fahmy, Hussein Mohamed, Khaled Omar, Khairy Fathy, Soliman Ahmed, Abdel Rahman Fathy, Omar Aly, Omar Adam, Amr Steve, Karim Ahmed, Karim Khozzam, Mohamed Gamal, Mohamed Khaled, Mohamed Samir, Mohamed Sayed, Mohamed Serry, Mohamed Abdallah, Mohamed Mahrous, Mohamed Mostafa, Mohamed Nasser, Mahmoud Sabber, Mostafa Gamal, Mostafa Metwally, Mostafa Nasr, Mostafa Aboud, Mohab Ahmed, Youssef Hamada, Mamdouh Mohamed, Mahmoud Salama, Mohamed Fargaly, Karim El Meligy, Alaa Morsi, Said Mohamed, Amgad El Sayed, Mostafa Mohamed, Ahmed El Shaboury, Said Gamal, Mohamed Ashraf, Ahmed Saleh, Mostafa Mohamed, Omar Gamal, Mohamed Hussein, Ibrahim Helmy, Al Araby Kamel, Bassem El Dosouky, Mohamed Ali and Eslam Hassan.



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