Limited number of fans to attend Ahly-Zamalek derby for first time since 2013

Hatem Maher , Friday 13 Sep 2019

Ahly and Zamalek last played before their fans in Egypt in 2013 (File photo: Ahram)

Up to 10,000 fans will be allowed to attend the domestic Super Cup clash between Cairo rivals Ahly and Zamalek next Friday for the first time in Egypt since 2013, the country's Football Association (EFA) announced.

Each side will be allocated 5,000 seats at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, Egypt's biggest venue which can accommodate up to 85,000 supporters.

The upcoming Super Cup edition, which is featuring Ahly as the 2018 league champions and Zamalek as the cup winners, was due to be played last year but was not held due to a packed domestic schedule. 

Both sides will also meet in another Super Cup at a yet-to-be-determined date after Ahly won the 2019 league title by bridging an eight-point gap with perennial rivals Zamalek, who claimed a consolation by beating Pyramids FC 3-0 in the Egypt Cup final last week.

"The EFA's announcement comes after it got all the required approvals from the relevant authorities," the governing body said in a statement, in a reference to security authorities who usually have the final say over whether fans can attend football games.

"The EFA seeks to get the fans back to the stands, which was one of the gains of Egypt's successful hosting of the African Cup of Nations."

The EFA, which is run by an interim board of directors, has also called on the fans of Ahly and Zamalek to adhere to the "spirit of sportsmanship and honourable competition" as it seeks to defuse any tensions between both sets of supporters.

Ahly and Zamalek last played before their passionate fans in Egypt in an African Champions League group-stage clash in 2013, which took place in the Red Sea resort of Gouna.They were also backed by their supporters in two Super Cup games in the United Arab Emirates in 2015 and 2016.  

In Egypt, they have played behind closed doors in the last six years due to lingering security concerns.

Ahly are the record winners of the Super Cup with 10 titles, seven clear of Zamalek. 

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