Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Sharm’s new stadium

Ahly beat Masri of Port Said 2-0 in the first league match to be played in Sharm El-Sheikh Stadium in Sinai. Inas Mazhar reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

While all the matches of the 38th week of the national football league took place in their respective venues as scheduled, the Ahly and Masri game was held in the newly built stadium in the Youth and Sports City of Sharm El-Sheikh.

While Ahly’s victory secured second place in the league standings with 74 points from 35 matches, Zamalek’s 3-0 victory over Ismaili in Cairo on the same day confirmed the White Castle’s status as the team most likely headed for glory with 80 points from 34 matches.

Ahly, the defending champions, have three matches remaining, one less than Zamalek.

Other matches saw Semouha of Alexandria beating Assiouty 3-0 and Wadi Degla defeating Makasa 2-0.

Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz had inaugurated the Sharm El-Sheikh sports city and football stadium earlier in the day. Abdel-Aziz then attended the warm-ups of the teams before game time. He said the opening of the sports city meant the readiness of the city of Sharm El-Sheikh to host more big national and international events in future.

“This sports facility is a great asset to and achievement of the Egyptian sports infrastructure. It is built to serve Egyptian sports federations whether to hold events or use the facilities for training camps,” Abdel-Aziz said.

The stadium is scheduled to host the Cairo derby between Ahly and Zamalek on 21 July. This week’s game between Ahly and Masri was selected as a stadium dry run before the most anticipated derby between Egypt’s top powerhouses.

The game between Ahly beat Masri was held behind closed doors and under tight security precautions, as have most football matches for the past three years. Games without spectators have been the norm ever since February 2012 when 72 football fans were killed in a soccer riot following a league match between Ahly and Masri in Port Said, the single worst incident in Egypt’s football history.

Thus, the symbolism of Monday’s match, played in a city called peace between two teams that caused a tragedy, was not lost.

All routes leading to the stadium were closed on Monday, hours before the game which was held at 10pm, three hours after the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

According to media director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mohamed Kassab, the official name of the venue is the Youth and Sports City Stadium.

«It is a huge and integral sports project that includes different venues for various sports in addition to the football stadium,» Kassab told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The Youth and Sports City includes, in addition to the 2,000-seat natural grass stadium, a 2,500-seat indoor hall, four squash courts and a training hall, four futsal courts, also natural grass, and courts for tennis, basketball, volleyball and handball. The city also includes a 370-room hotel with a convention centre affiliated to it.

According to Kassab, construction is still under way in the Olympic Swimming Complex which will be inaugurated soon. He added that the City of Peace is to host several international events, including the Arab Basketball Championship, the World Table Tennis Championship and the Arab Martial Arts Championship.

“This is just the beginning. The ministry plans to implement the same sports facility and infrastructure in other Egyptian governorates as well,” Mustafa Azzam, deputy of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for investment, said.

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