Ahly chairman meets Ultras Ahlawy members ahead of Esperance showdown

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 14 Sep 2011

Ahly chairman Hassan Hamdy seeks to ease tensions ahead of Friday’s anticipated clash against Tunisia’s Esperance in Cairo

Ultras Ahlawy

Ahly chairman Hassan Hamdy sat down with some Ultras Ahlawy members on Wednesday in a bid to ease growing tensions ahead of Friday’s crucial CAF Champions League clash against Esperance.

The under-fire group, which includes Ahly’s hardcore supporters, came in for fierce criticism after they were involved in clashes with police following a low-key Egyptian Cup game against Kima Aswan earlier this month.

They also took part in last Friday’s protests in Tahrir, which later developed into unruly confrontations with security personnel, to demand the release of 15 detained fans.

Hamdy and Ahly’s board members were criticized by Ultras Ahlawy for releasing a statement which tacitly held the group accountable for the riots which erupted immediately following the Kima Aswan game.

In Wednesday’s meeting, Hamdy assured Ultras Ahlawy that he would do his best to urge Egyptian authorities to free the detained fans, seven of which were already released earlier this week.

Ahly will host Tunisian outfit Esperance in an anticipated Champions League encounter at Cairo Stadium which will determine who would book a semi-final berth at Africa’s elite club competition.

The Red Devils lie third in Group B with six points, one behind Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca and three behind Esperance.

Tunisia and Egypt are enduring security problems at football matches following popular uprisings which toppled autocratic presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak respectively.

Both countries witnessed several pitch invasions and object-throwing incidents during the past few months.

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