Ahli of Egypt will take on European champions Barcelona in a friendly in Cairo marking the centennial anniversary of the African club of the century. Inas Mazhar
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Ahli, left, and Barcelona football squads. The Ahli-Barcelona match of 1961 in Cairo, below
Egyptians are excited by the long- awaited match on Tuesday 24 April as hosts Ahli put the finishing touches for the big occasion.
Roughly 69,800 tickets will go on sale three days before the match, specifically following tomorrow's second leg round 16 clash with South Africa's Sundowns in the African Champions League. The first leg ended 2-2 in Pretoria.
Prices start from LE3,000 for the VIP tribune and LE1,000 for the main tribune. First class tickets are worth LE150 for the lower level and LE75 for the upper level. Second class tickets are available for LE50 and the lowest price is LE25 for third class.
Ahli member Khaled Mortagi said the club had allocated a stand for retired Ahli players to attend the game. The club has also invited all former chairmen and board members to attend the club's board of directors meeting on 24 April, the day of the match, and which marks 100 years since the first meeting took place on the same day in 1907.
The presidents of Ahli and FC Barcelona signed an agreement last month over the arrangements for the friendly. Barcelona President Juan Laporta, director Albert Perrin and technical secretary Txiki Begiristain were in Egypt ago as hosts of Ahli during which they checked the facilities. The agreement to stage the match was signed by the presidents of the two continental champs in Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo with over 200 journalists present.
Ahli president Hassan Hamdi said he was "delighted and honoured to have arranged for the centennial match against one of the world's best and strongest clubs."
Laporta returned the compliment by saying he felt the game "would be more than a match, as it would be between two clubs with a strong and proud history behind them."
The game will also work on deepening the alliance between the two clubs on a marketing front and for young footballers, who will participate in an academy to be set up as part of the deal.
The visiting team is expected to arrive 24 hours ahead of the game. Ahli will hold a press conference 90 minutes after the arrival of the guests to be attended by Barcelona head coach Frank Rijkaard as well as three of their best players, led by Brazilian Ronaldinho.
Sixty media people are expected to accompany the Spanish team.
The teams met in Cairo before in a friendly on 7 April 7 1961. The Catalans won 6-1 that day with goals coming from Villaverde (2), Evaristo, Verges, Garay and Kocsis.
In 2001 Ahli beat Spanish giants Real Madrid 1-0 in Cairo.