Violence against women threatens development after COVID-19 crisis: Elena Panova    FRA approves amendment to securitization bonds, sukuk regulations    Egypt chairs African Peace and Security Council session on women    12 digital gangs have targeted Egypt since beginning of pandemic: Kaspersky    Egypt, Finland discuss ways to enhance cooperation in education sector    Allergic conditions linked to lower COVID-19 infection risk    Marota Developments to debut new phase of Mastro Mall in New Capital    Speed Clinic targets EGP 2.8bn revenues from COVID-19 tests for travelers from Saudi Arabia, Libya    UFM's priorities align with Egypt's Vision 2030: Shoukry    Prominent Egyptian anchor calls on UK to designate "Muslim Brotherhood" a Terrorist entity    Hope Givers Foundation honours Egyptologist Ali Abu Dashish    Austrian Cultural Forum in Cairo to launch exhibition highlighting Arab-Austrian ties    Art D'Egypte concludes 4th contemporary art exhibition "Forever is Now" at Giza Plateau    Egypt's stocks end week in green as benchmark EWX 30 surges 0.69%    Egypt, Israel sign deal sign MoU to increase gas supplies, hydrogen transport    Mortada Mansour sets road map for Zamalek, after normalization committee depart    I seek to secure stable financial sources to build strong judo team: Motei Fakhr El-Din    Egyptian karate players dazzle world in UAE    Orascom Construction joins consortium to develop Egypt's first green hydrogen production facility    98 potential candidates run for Libyan presidency    'Lake Victoria – Mediterranean' navigation corridor awaits feasibility studies, funds: official    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Egypt selected to host COP27 international climate conference in 2022    Number of British tourists to Egypt seen hitting 500,000 this winter – envoy    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



What went wrong?
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 11 - 2018

Following their devastating loss in the final of the African Champions League, Ahly Club are to hold an urgent meeting today to assess the damage and try to right the ship.
The 15 November meeting will be chaired by Ahly Club President Mahmoud Al-Khatib who took over late last year and is the Cairo team's former legendary player.
Al-Khatib and his board will need all their acumen as they try to appease Ahly fans who are angry and anxious and want to know what has been going wrong with the club in the last few months. After losing their second African Champions League final in a row and dropping points in the Egyptian Premier League, Ahly fans are demanding major changes.
Ahly's latest failure was last week's 4-3 aggregate loss to Esperance of Tunisia in the final of the African Champions League. It was the club's second consecutive loss in the final of the event, losing last year to Morocco's Wydad Casablanca. Despite losing the title again this year and the $2.5 million prize money, the Egyptian team did cash in on $1.2 million in a losing effort. But that was small consolation for Ahly who had sought to extend their record eight championships. The team last tasted victory in the final in 2013.
After the latest loss, Al-Khatib told Ahly TV: “Last Friday was one of my toughest days ever, despite our lead in the first leg 3-1. I was worried by the pre-celebrations I saw from some players and fans.
“I understand the sorrow and the sadness that Ahly fans feel right now after the final loss, and in my opinion this anger I see from Ahly fans shows me how concerned they are about the club's future which always must be number one in Egypt and Africa,” Al-Khatib said.
On Friday 9 November Ahly lost to Esperance 3-0 in the second leg of the African Champions League final at Stade Olympique de Rades after taking a 3-1 lead in the first leg in Egypt.
The stadium was known to be one of Ahly's favourite in Africa. It was the venue which hosted their memorable Champions League triumphs in 2006 and 2012. For the first time against Esperance, Ahly played in Stade Olympique de Rades with a scoring advantage, yet they botched up their first leg lead and handed the title easily to the Tunisian club.
Back in 2012, Ahly won their seventh African title with coach Hossam Al-Badri against Esperance although they ended the first leg in Cairo 1-1. Ahly won the title in Stade Olympique de Rades, beating Esperance 2-1. Last year in the quarter-finals of the African competition, Ahly advanced after a 2-2 draw in Egypt and a 2-1 win in Tunisia.
But on Friday, Ahly were humiliated in Rades, unable to muster a single shot on goal throughout the 90 minutes.
Saad Bguir, who is normally a substitute, starred with a goal in each half before Anice Badri sealed the deal and secured the third African title for Esperance. They also won the title in 1994 and 2011.
Ahly's French head coach Patrice Carteron took Ahly to the final for the 12th time in the history of the club, yet failed to properly manage the second leg in Tunisia and decided to park the bus for the entire match, even after Esperance were up 2-0. A goal by Ahly at that point would have clinched the cup but zero shots on target and only 58% passing accuracy summarised the players' performance on the pitch. Ahly lost not just a major final but their spirit on the pitch.
In the aftermath of an ill-tempered affair in the first leg the Egyptian side had their Moroccan striker Walid Azzaro banned from playing the final for unsporting behaviour. Ahly also had to play the final without Tunisian international Ali Maalol, Junior Ajay, Hesham Mohamed, Mohamed Naguib, Rami Rabia and Ahmed Fathi due to injuries.
In the first leg in Alexandria, Ahly scored twice from controversial penalty decisions. It was a sign that the 3-1 win was deceptive and that the second leg would be a difficult encounter.
Ahly assistant coach Mohamed Youssef blamed a stone-throwing attack on their team bus as the reason behind their sensational collapse that saw Esperance go on to win the African Champions League. The Ahly team bus was reportedly attacked by Esperance fans as the Egyptians made their way into the stadium ahead of the crucial match. The team's midfielder Hesham Mohamed was said to have been injured in the head after he was reportedly hit by a stone.
“We met difficult circumstances during our 72-hour stay in Tunisia before the match. The atmosphere was totally far from football. The latest incident was the assault on our bus and the injury to one of our players by a stone. We were forced to exclude him from the match,” Youssef said.
“I salute the Ahly players as they tried to do their best in a difficult situation. We played a balanced first half but the first goal embarrassed us besides the injury of Mohamed Hani and the suspension of Walid Azzaro,” he added.
“This is football,” Youssef said when asked about the CAF punishment against Ahly. “We respect CAF decisions but we were affected by the quick sanctions on Ahly directly before the match. Ahly remain the leader of African clubs with their host of titles.” While Ahly have collected the most African Champion League trophies, that the last was five years ago is not going down well with their millions of supporters.
It has become painfully obvious that several players in the current squad are not deserving of the red jersey of Egypt's most popular club. After the departure of midfield maestro Abdullah Said, Ahly have yet to find a new superstar who can help midfielder Walid Suleiman in the big games. Suleiman, who was Ahly's best player in the tournament, was double teamed for much of the final.
The players are also apparently exhausted from playing in too many tournaments at the same time: the Egyptian League and Cup, African Champions League and Arab Championship. Without a squad rotation and a depleted bench from a plethora of injuries have taken a toll on the players.
Ahly fans on social media were devastated and expressed as much. They all agreed that Ahly didn't deserve to win the African title and that the club needs big signings in the winter transfer window.
Al-Ahram Weekly asked Ahly fans about the game. Ahmed Adel, a 30-year-old-fan who flew to Tunisia to support the club in the final said that what happened before the match “should not be an excuse for this shameful performance. The board, Carteron and the players all share responsibility for this devastating loss,” Adel said.
“Ahly missed an easy chance to strengthen their Champions League record,” Adel Koraim, the sports journalist and former football team media officer at Ahly, told the Weekly. “The team was affected by controversial incidents outside the pitch, and never managed to overcome them in the game in which they were totally outplayed. There are many question marks hanging over the physical level of the players and numerous injuries. Also the board didn't use the second registration period to strengthen the squad in an appropriate manner. They looked shocked by CAF's controversial decisions and never retaliated. Overall, it was a deserved defeat.”
The new CAF competitions system will witness a transitional calendar which allows the CAF club competitions to switch from a February-to-November schedule to an August–to-May schedule, following decisions by the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017. However, this season's qualifications will start later this month, and end in May 2019, before the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which is scheduled to take place in June and July in Cameroon. From Egypt, Ahly and Ismaili will participate in the Champions League which starts two week from now, while Zamalek and Masri will represent Egypt in the second tier African football club tournament, the Confederations Cup.
In the Egyptian league, Ahly, the defending champions, are currently in 17th place with 11 points. Cross-town rival Zamalek are atop the table with 26 points after 11 games. Ahly have played only six.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer is a freelance journalist.


Clic here to read the story from its source.