Zamalek-Ahly Champions League clash switched to Red Sea resort

Hatem Maher, Monday 15 Jul 2013

Sunday’s African Champions League clash between Cairo rivals Ahly and Zamalek will be played in El-Gouna instead of Alexandria

Ahly vs Zamalek

Zamalek will host Cairo rivals Ahly in a Red Sea resort in Sunday’s African Champions League Group A opener, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed.

There had been speculation over whether the game would take place in Egypt, given the ongoing political turmoil that followed the Egyptian army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.

The match was initially due to take place in Alexandria but security concerns prompted the Egyptian authorities to switch the game to El-Gouna, a Red Sea resort that is about 22 km north of Hurghada’s International Airport.

“CAF sent us a letter to confirm that the match will be played on Sunday in El-Gouna at 4:30 pm,” Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz said on the club’s official website.

Ahly and Zamalek will have to play afternoon because the tiny 12,000-seater stadium is not equipped with floodlights.

Some players have already voiced concerns over having to play in searing heat while they are fasting during Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan.

Supporters are unlikely to be allowed to attend the game although hardcore fan groups of both sides insist they intend to defy the ongoing crowd ban.

The Egyptian Premier League has been effectively called off for the second consecutive season due to lingering security concerns in the wake of Morsi’s ouster.

Ahly are eyeing a second successive Champions League triumph while success-starved Zamalek are chasing their first continental title since 2002.

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