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Ahly, Zamalek in non-stop banter
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 11 - 2018

If you're a neutral fan and do not support either Ahly or Zamalek you'll certainly be enjoying the ongoing banter between the two sets of fans. And if you support any of the two Egyptian giants, you can still enjoy being part of unprecedented teasing since it's the first time in a long time that you can see both teams struggling at the same time.
Zamalek or the White Knights are doing much better than their fierce rivals but still bowed out of the Arab Champions Cup at the hands of another Egyptian team, Ittihad of Alexandria, just a few days after Ahly was sent out the same competition at the hands of Al-Wasl of the UAE. Both games came less than a month after Ahly lost the final of the African Champions league against Tunisian side Esperance 4-3 on aggregate.
Zamalek fans had all the time in the world to tease Ahly supporters and did so in style as the comics and jokes flooded social media. The White Knights fans made the most of seeing their main rivals lose two competitions in less than a month. Karim Hazem, a die-hard Zamalek fan, made it clear that nothing beats poking fun at Ahly fans after any loss. “To see Ahly lose the Champions League final after their fans thought they already had won the cup felt as good as seeing Zamalek winning the competition. And the icing on the cake was seeing them bow out of the Arab championship after conceding a goal eight minutes from time. I enjoyed every bit of making fun of friends especially that it has been a very long time since I had the chance to do so,” Hazem said.
Another solidly Zamalek fan, Galal Al-Sherif, shared Hazem's opinion and added that even though he knows that Zamalek's turn will come, he still couldn't resist the temptation to make fun of Ahly after their two losses which meant that they only have the Egyptian league and cup to play for this season. “I am certainly enjoying myself as a Zamalek fan now and I don't care about us bowing out of the Arab Championship because all what I care about is the league title,” Al-Sherif said.
Ahly fans had to live with all kinds of mockery from Zamalek fans because they knew this was a lifetime chance for Zamalek fans to put one over them after years and years of despair in which Ahly were dominant. Ahmed Al-Leithi, a loyal Ahly supporter, said he saw all this coming the second they lost the final of the Champions League. “As soon as the referee blew the whistle against Esperance, the first thing that crossed my mind was what I'm seeing now from Zamalek fans. I'm not angry to be honest because this is their first and hopefully last time they will do this and I believe we'll wake up from this decline very soon,” Al-Leithi said.
Mohamed Riad, another Ahly fan, expressed his delight when Ittihad managed to eliminate Zamalek from the Arab Championship via penalties. “Zamalek fans thought they already had won the Arab Cup and the league title just because we're in a bad moment so it couldn't have been any funnier that even though we left the competition they still lost against a mid-table Egyptian side.”
The banter thing will surely go on for weeks more until we see who will win the domestic league and cup. Zamalek are currently top of the league table with 33 points from 13 games while Ahly are 16th with 14 points from just eight games.


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