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Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 1 Dec 2020

The African Super Cup will be played in Egypt this month

Ahly celebrating winning their ninth CAF Champions League title
Ahly celebrating winning their ninth CAF Champions League title

The African Football Association (CAF) has decided that the Total African Super Cup game between Morocco’s Renaissance Berkane, the winners of the Confederation Cup, and Egypt’s Ahly, the winner of the Champions League, will be played in Egypt on 10 December.

The annual African Super Cup game was initially scheduled to be held in Qatar between 14-16 August 2020. It was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahly hold the record for the most African Super Cup wins with six, followed by fellow Cairo-based team Zamalek with five titles.

Zamalek lost to Ahly in a dramatic African Champions League final last week due to a late winner from playmaker Magdi Afsha.  

Afsha scored with a rocket-like shot with four minutes left on the clock as Ahly beat Zamalek 2-1 in Cairo International Stadium last Friday to clinch a record-extending ninth Total CAF Champions League title.

The Cairo Derby, the first time a final was being decided by teams from the same country, looked to be headed for a draw before Afsha scored to hand the Red Devils the title and prevent Zamalek from adding to their five African crowns.

Ahly’s South African head coach Pitso Mosimane, who joined the team less than three months ago, won his second Champions League title, coincidentally against the same side he beat to clinch his first crown in 2016 when he was at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Ahly also kept their record of not being beaten by their eternal rivals in the Champions League, picking up their sixth win in nine matches.

After losing to Ahly, Zamalek’s woes increased after it was announced that the club’s board, led by Chairman Mortada Mansour, would be temporarily suspended by Egypt’s Sports Ministry over financial irregularities.

“The ministry has decided to refer financial violations stated in its report to the public prosecution until the prosecution completes its investigation,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It also decided to suspend Zamalek club’s board of directors… on a temporary basis until the conclusion of the public prosecution’s investigations... or until the legal period prescribed by law for the board of directors expires, whichever comes first.”

The ministry did not specify the financial irregularities that had cost Mansour his place but recent reports said the charges he might face include squandering public funds.

Mansour has also been accused by several sports officials of defaming them, including Ahly President Mahmoud Al-Khatib.

The board was replaced by a temporary committee led by former club board member and president of the Court of Appeal in Cairo Ahmed Bakri, joined by fellow judge Hesham Mahmoud and lawyer Mohamed Sayed Attia.

Zamalek’s director of football operations Amir Mortada Mansour announced he was leaving the club after the suspension of the club’s board. A newly appointed football committee was named, headed by former Zamalek player and coach Ayman Younes, in addition to past stars Ashraf Qassem and Abdel-Halim Ali.

Mansour was elected Zamalek chairman in 2014 before winning another term in 2017. He was at the helm when Zamalek won the Egyptian Premier League for the first time in 11 years in 2015.

In another development, Egypt’s national football team jumped three places to 49th on FIFA’s November rankings released recently after beating Togo in two games in the 2022 African Cup of Nations Cup qualifiers in mid-November.

Egypt moved level on top of Group G with surprise package Comoros at eight points each, after the Pharaohs beat Togo 1-0 and 3-1 in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

The Pharaohs are five points clear of third-placed Kenya, while Togo are rooted to the bottom with a solitary point.

Egypt jumped one place among African countries to sixth place, behind Senegal (20), Tunisia (26), Algeria (31), Nigeria (35) and Morocco (35).

There were some more changes in the November rankings for other African teams with Senegal jumping one place, Algeria dropping one position, Nigeria falling three places, and Morocco jumping four places.

Egypt are also placed fourth among Arab countries, after Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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