Skip to content

Africa has a new champion: Egypt’s Al-Ahly claim CAF title

Nov 17, 2012, 4:26 PM EDT

FBL-AFR-C2-AHLY-ESPERANCE DE TUNIS Getty Images

Like the rest of Egypt’s teams, Al-Ahly hasn’t played a domestic match since the Port Said tragedy, where rioting at a Feb. 2 soccer match in the Egyptian port city let to the deaths of 74 spectators. Al-Ahly, one of Egypt’s clubs, were facing Al-Masry that day, with players and coaches left scrambling to escape as Masry supporters surged onto the field.

In March, security concerns forced the country’s soccer federation to cancel the remainder of the Premier League season. Egypt hasn’t played since. (They’re now scheduled to resume play in December).

Since February, the only soccer seen by Al-Ahly and Zamalek (Egypt’s other big club) has been in African Champions League. Both teams played their way through initial rounds and into this summer’s eight-team group stage where the Cairo-based rivals were grouped together with former champions TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Ghanians Berekum Chelsea.

While Zamalek stumbled, Al-Ahly finished at the top of the group, their only loss coming in DR Congo. Three matches later, and the Egyptians found themselves in Tunis, facing continental power Esperance one week after a 1-1 draw in Alexandria swung momentum in the CAF Champions League final toward the Tunisians.

But as any cynic would note, momentum is only a goal away:

(Al-Ahly is in blue. Esperance is in the yellow and red)

Your goal scorers were Geddo (putting home a 43rd minute setup from Al-Sayed Hamdy), Walid Soliman (with an amazing piece of skill before a great finish), and Cameroonian Yannick N’Djeng (who pulled Esperance within a goal of the title).

“Ahly deserved the victory as they dominated the entire game,” Esperance coach Nabil Maaloul admitted after the match.

For Al-Ahly, the win clinches their seventh continental title (a record), though the story of where they’ve been is more compelling that the accumulation of another trophy.

Forward Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the players on the field at Port Said, initially retired from soccer in the wake of February’s tragedy. “I will not play football again,” he told the club’s television station.

“People here are dying and no one is doing a thing. It’s like a war,” Aboutrika said. “Is life this cheap?”

Midfielder Mohamed Barakat said there would be “no football after [Port Said],” while forward Emad Moteab told Al-Ahly TV he would not play again until there was “retribution for the people that died.”

Nine months after considering the end of their careers, all three were on the bench today, Aboutrika getting a late runout in place of Hamdy.

After the team’s victory, the trio is on their way to Japan, their team set to represent Africa at next month’s Club World Cup.

Latest Posts
  1. David Moyes vilified on return to Everton, as Manchester United nightmare continues

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Everton’s old boss the villain on return to Goodison, as pastures new prove to be a nightmare:

  2. Berbatov scores a very Berbatov goal to send Monaco to the Champions League

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

    Berbatov Getty Images

    With the cheekiest of chips, Dimitar Berbatov sent Monaco to the Champions League with his winner against Nice.

  3. Villa owner Lerner releases head-scratching statement

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT

    Lerner Getty Images

    Randy Lerner released a pretty useless statement on the Villa website today, refusing to rule out a sale of the club which has been reported in recent days.

  4. Everton 2-0 Manchester United: Toffees rampant in miserable return for Moyes

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Baines, a transfer target for Moyes and United, came back to haunt his old boss. AP

    Nightmare return for Moyes, as Everton do double over United for first time since 1970:

  5. Video: Sunil Gulati believes US Soccer is headed in right direction

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT

    Gulati Getty Images

    The US Soccer Federation president talks USWNT coaching search, men’s World Cup goals, and MLS growth with NBC’s John Strong.

  6. Miami mayor hits back at Beckham stadium critics

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Gimenez AP

    With the Miami port vehemently against the new stadium deal, Miami’s mayor comes to Beckham’s side.

  7. Hull City 0-3 Arsenal: Full-strength lineup sees Gunners cruise

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Arsenal

    Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil were back in the starting lineup and Arsenal looked like a rejuvenated bunch.

  8. Watch Live: Everton vs Manchester United (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Moyes Getty Images

    David Moyes returns to his old home as Everton continues their fight for a Champions League place.

  9. Ramsey marks Gunners return with Hull City opener

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

    Ramsey Getty Images

    It’s been nearly five months since his last goal, but Aaron Ramsey picked up where he left off to give Arsenal the lead at KC.

  10. Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool: Sterling, Reds with one hand on the title

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Sterling Getty Images

    Raheem Sterling shined and they held off a charging Norwich at the end to go five points clear at the top.

  11. Watch Live: Hull City vs Arsenal (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

    Ozil AP

    Mesut Ozil returns for Arsenal after a 6-week absence, can he lead Arsenal’s charge for the top four?

  12. Report: Danny Welbeck considering leaving Manchester United

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

    Welbeck AP

    With a reduced role under David Moyes, Welbeck may search elsewhere in the Premier League for a better managerial relationship.

  13. Sterling and Suarez tear Norwich apart in opening 10 minutes

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:13 AM EDT

    Sterling Getty Images

    The Reds are well on their way to going top, but Norwich are battling with attacks of their own.

  14. Watch Live: Norwich City vs Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:37 AM EDT

    Rodgers AP

    It’s all on the line for both teams this morning in a massive game for each end of the table. Liverpool can put one hand on the title trophy with a win today, going five clear at the top.

  15. Premier League Sunday Preview: Liverpool’s chance to tighten its grip; Fourth place in focus

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:57 AM EDT

    Steven Gerrard AP

    Liverpool can go five clear before David Moyes makes his return to Goodison Park.

  16. MLS Roundup: Sporting climbs to first in East; RSL stays undefeated

    Apr 20, 2014, 3:53 AM EDT

    ned_grabavoy_javier_morales Getty Images

    Dallas stayed at the top of the Western Conference, while Seattle improved to 3-0-1 on the road.

  17. Late Martins goal gives Seattle full points at Chivas USA (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:39 AM EDT

    Obafemi Martins 2

    Seattle’s high-priced strike tandem produced another late winner, giving the Sounders their fourth win of the season.

  18. Grabavoy winner prolongs Portland’s agony against Real Salt Lake (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:51 AM EDT

    nick_rimando Getty Images

    Two huge saves in the final minutes from Nick Rimando keep RSL unbeaten.

  19. Sporting Kansas City takes care of business against Montréal, 4-0 (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:05 AM EDT

    dom_dwyer AP

    Goal difference has the defending champions on top of the Eastern Conference.

Featured video

PST Extra: Race for the PL title