Ahly coach calls for fans to attend 'tough' African tie

Eslam Omar , Tuesday 5 May 2015

Ahly's new coach Fathi Mabrouk and football director Wael Gomaa react to CAF Confederation Cup draw

File Photo: Fans of Egypt's Al-Ahli shine laser lights on the face of goalkeeper of South Africa's Orlando Pirates Senzo Meyiwa during their African Champions League final soccer match at the Arab Contractors Stadium in Cairo, November 10, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian champions Ahly have requested that fans be allowed to attend their Confederation Cup round 16 clash against Club Africain of Tunisia.

The title holders, who became the first ever Egyptian team to win the Confederation Cup title last season, were paired with the Tunisian league leaders on Tuesday, after exiting the CAF Champions League.

"Ahly lose most of their strength in the absence of fans so we demand they be allowed in the crucial Cup clash against Africain," the club's football director Wael Gomaa told the Egyptian media on Tuesday.

The first leg will be held on 15, 16 or 17 May while the second-leg is scheduled for either 5 or 7 June. The continental giants are also struggling in their bid for a ninth successive Egyptian Premier league title, being third in the table with 46 points, eleven points behind leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek.

"Club Africain is a very tough opponent but we still have time to prepare," Ahly’s new coach Fathi Mabrouk said.

The record holders of eight Champions League trophies fired coach Carlos Garrido after Saturday's elimination and appointed Fathi Mabrouk as caretaker coach.

"We are being punished. We are Egypt's representatives and we should be supported by authorities by lifting the closed-doors on the stadiums," Gomaa added.

Spectators were banned from February 2012 when 72 Ahly fans died in the Port Said stadium disaster. They were banned again in February when 20 Zamalek fans were killed at the Cairo Air Defence stadium.

"I am only focused on the league at the moment," Mabrouk added, referring to Wednesday’s game against Al-Nasr in matchday 28 of the competition.

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