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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Clouds over Ahly and Zamalek summit match today

Hours before the Egyptian Premier League decider between Cairo arch-rivals Ahly and Zamalek, hesitation dominates the football scene

Eslam Omar, Wednesday 29 Jun 2011
Al-Ahly vs El Zamalek
El Zamalek's Mohamed Abdel-Shafy fights for the ball with Al-Ahly's Ahmed Fathy during their Egyptian Premier League derby soccer match at Cairo Stadium December 30, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)
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Following clashes that started last night between protesters and police in Tahrir, the Egyptian Football Association considered postponing the “summit game” between Egypt’s two big teams: Ahly and Zamalek – a demand of the Ministry of Interior – before finally agreeing with the ministry to hold it as scheduled.

Spokesmen for the ministry have called on “all security forces” to support them in the task of preventing clashes during the match.

According to the official site of White Castle, “Zamalek president Galal Ibrahim agreed to play the 107th Cairo derby against Zamalek today at 08:30 after orders from the top.”

The rival teams’ respective plans fell apart following the confusion and coaches are scrambling to bring them back on course.

“We are contacting players to bring them back to training,” Zamalek football director, Ibrahim Hassan said.

Competing for their first title since 2004, Zamalek is second in the Egyptian Premier League table with 50 points, five behind arch-rival Ahly, who are bidding for their seventh successive trophy.

Ahly president Hassan Hamdy met with the coaching staff and the players this afternoon and urged them to stay ready and focused on the pitch, forgetting about the rescheduling confusion.

“We agreed to play despite the current circumstances for the sake of our country,” Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz said.

The hardcore supporters of the two sides, Ultras White Knights and Ultras Ahlawey, had their own share of hesitation today as they headed to Tahrir to join the protests after hearing about the rescheduling; they are considering what role to play in the stadium.

“We ask that Egyptian supporter should to abide by the codes of sportsmanship for the sake of Egypt,” the EFA  spokesman Azmy Megahed concluded.

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