Ahly’s President Mahmoud Al-Khatib doubled the bonuses of Ahly’s men’s handball team after they won the Egyptian Cup, beating archrivals Zamalek 26-23. Zamalek had won the league title against Ahly 18-17 just a week earlier.
Al-Khatib, together with Ahly board members, congratulated the team on winning the cup and praised the players’ performance and their fighting spirit in the final game. Al-Khatib acknowledged the efforts of the coaching staff and the players throughout the tournament, saying they achieved impressive results which lived up to expectations.
Dr Hassan Mustafa Sports Hall witnessed a strong performance on Saturday night from both teams, however, Ahly managed to get the upper hand in the encounter.
Ahly men’s handball team had a strong start and managed to take the lead at the half 15-11 thanks to Abdel-Rahman Faisal, Abdel-Aziz Ehab, Osama Al-Geziri and goalkeeper Mohamed Essam Al-Tayyar who blocked a number of Zamalek’s shots on more than one occasion.
In the second half, Zamalek’s players narrowed the gap but Al-Tayyar came up big with several crucial saves.
Islam Hassan and Ibrahim Masri also played an important role in the dying minutes of the game.
“We lived up to expectations,” Islam Hassan said after the match. He said Al-Khatib “supported us a lot in the last period especially after losing the league title. His support added a huge responsibility on us which helped us in winning the cup. Finally, the title is our gift to our fans as they deserve to be happy.”
“Winning the Egyptian Cup proved that we are capable of winning trophies, and we managed to regain the trust of our fans. We won this title at the perfect time, especially after losing the league title to Zamalek,” Omar Khaled said.
“We had to respond instantly and in the end, we managed to win the cup. The team is currently full of young promising players, and we will win more titles in the future by gaining more experience.”
“Many people thought that losing the Egyptian League title will affect us,” Al-Tayyar, Ahly’s goalkeeper who played a crucial role in winning the cup, said. “However, Ahly’s character led us to win today’s game and clinch the title. Ahly has many brilliant players and this encourages me to always be in my best shape.”
Tarek Mahrous, Ahly head coach, thanked Al-Khatib “for providing his full support for the team in the last period, especially after our handball team lost the league title to Zamalek earlier this month. Winning the Egyptian Cup shows that we have a very strong team that is able to win trophies. This title is very dear to my heart, given that it came at a very crucial time.”
“We managed to defeat a difficult opponent in the final. Our fans deserve to celebrate today’s victory, as the team pulled off one of their best performances of the season.”
Mahrous said the coaching staff was currently working on building a strong generation of handball players that are able to represent Ahly in the future.
Ahly player Faisal reflected on the team’s victory. “We were unlucky to lose the league title. However, we were determined to win the cup to show that losing the league was something exceptional. I would like to congratulate Ahly fans on winning the cup. They always support us and we will keep fighting to make them happy.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 29 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly