CAF draw may stress ongoing Egypt, Tunisia security issues

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 15 May 2012

Egyptian rivals Ahly and Zamalek meet face to face in CAF Champions’ League group stage while Tunisians Esperance and Etoile du Sahel also merged

Ahly vs Zamalek
File Photo: Al-Ahly's Hossam Ghaly (R) and El Zamalek's Mahmoud Abd El Razek Shikabala fights for the ball (Photo: Reuters)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions’ League group stage draw on Tuesday placed Egyptian clubs Ahly and Zamalek in the same group and Tunisian rivals Esperance and Etoile du Sahel in the second one.

Amid security concerns in the politically heated Arab nations, the Cairo rivals have qualified to the group stage despite playing their home matches behind closed doors while their neighbours only allowed minimal fans attendance, ten thousand supporters.

With Ahly, who won Mali’s Stade Malian 3-2 on aggregate and Zamalek, who qualified after smashing Moroccan Maghreb Fez 4-0, group B also combines Ghana’s Berekum Chelsea and TP Mazembe (DR Congo)

In group A, Esperance of Tunisia will compete with compatriots Etoile du Sahel, neighbours ASO Chlef of Algeria and Nigeria’s Sunshine Stars.

Since the start of the Arab uprisings, Egyptian and Tunisian pitches have witnessed numerous scenes of hooliganism and other football-related  violence. All Egyptian football competitions  were cancelled following Port Said's stadium disaster that saw the death of more than 70 fans. Tunisian football authorities were also forced to take drastic action, continued their last season behind closed doors following successive hooliganism and pitch invasion scenes.

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