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Ahly boss seeks victims families support in 1st Masry game since disaster

Ahly coach asks slain fans families for support in 1st Masry game since disaster

Ahram Online , Wednesday 7 Jan 2015
Team players of the Egyptian Al-Ahly club run for safety during clashes following their soccer match against Al-Masry club at the soccer stadium in Port Said, Egypt Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. (Photo: AP)
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Ahly coach Juan Garrido urged the angry families of Port Said victims to stand by the team ahead of a controversial Egyptian Premier League clash against Masry on Saturday.

Both sides come face to face for the first time since Egypt's worst-ever football tragedy, which left more than 70 Ahly fans dead after they were attacked by the Masry supporters in coastal city Port Said following the end of a league game in February 2012.

The families of the victims stormed the club headquarters on Tuesday to demand that the team refrain from playing against Masry.

"It's horrible what happened. It is a lasting trauma for many people because it was an enormous tragedy. I accompany the feeling to everyone who lost someone that day and I also understand the pain they lived there," Spanish coach Garrido said on his personal website on Wednesday.

"It's a drama that hurts us and we have it in our mind."

The match will take place in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna behind closed doors due to security concerns.

"We are a football team and we can’t decide what games we play and what not. That’s a decision that has to be taken by other authorities," Garrido added.

"Our obligation is to play on behalf of Ahly and represent our fans, always in the best possible way. For me and for our players, it’s a very complicated situation.

"Therefore, I ask everyone to understand our situation and to support our players because we always go to defend Ahly."

An initial verdict of the Port-Said disaster that was issued in 2013 sentenced 21 defendants to death and five to life in prison. A retrial was ordered by a Cairo court in early 2014. 

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