Monday,11 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Monday,11 December, 2017
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

High five

Ahli have added a record fifth Super Cup, Abeer Anwar reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

African League champions Ahli edged CAF Confederation Cup Winners AC Leopards Dolisie of  Congo 2-1 to win the African Super Cup for a record five times. The game was played in front of a sparse crowd at Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Saturday.
Ahli started out as the match that pitted the two top African teams as favourites due to their vast experience in the CAF competitions which has stretched 30 years and includes a record seven African League championships. On the other hand, Ahli were without the efforts of some of its well-known players.  Ahli’s famous star Mohamed Abu Treika is on a short-term loan to Bani Yas of the United Arab Emirates. Mohamed Nagi Gedo and Ahmed Fathi are with English second division club Hull until the end of the season.
The absences affected Ahli’s offense; the club had scored just four goals in their first four league matches.
Ahli started on the attack and Sayed Hamdi lost a number of golden chances to score. But goals from Rami Rabiaa on the 55th minute and Mohamed Barakat on the 70th minute were enough to give Ahli the title and the trophy for the fifth time. AC captain Rudy Ndey scored for Leopards late in the match.
Of the six Super Cups Ahli has played in, the club won five: in 2001 against Kaizer Chiefs, in 2005 against FAR Rabat, in 2006 against Etoile Sahel of Sousse, 2008 against Sfaxien, and now Leopards. The only defeat for Ahli was against arch Egyptian rivals Zamalek in 1993 in a match played in Johannesburg, South Africa.
On the other hand, visitors AC Leopards did their best to win. “Even though we currently lack the edge because local competition is still to start, I think the team is good at the moment,” said Cameroonian coach Joseph Marius Omog after the match. “We prepared well through a number of friendly matches and players were confident all through Saturday’s game. Of course, we knew that Ahli is a big team in Africa but we gave its players a hard time and we were not an easy prey. We had a good game but unfortunately couldn’t score enough to win. Ahli is one of the biggest teams in Africa but we could have won today. Thanks to my players, this team has a great future,” Omog told cafonline.com.
Of the nine matches played on opponent’s fields in the championship, AC Leopards managed one win, registered five draws and suffered three defeats. After losing at home to Tunisian side Sfaxien the Congolese turned the tables to beat Sfaxien in their backyard and go through to the next stage of the competition.
“This is an extremely important title,” Al-Badri said. “The CAF Super Cup is a title we longed to win and victory will give us a push to continue and win the league title especially that a number of players are new faces in the team and such victories give them confidence and enthusiasm. Also they want to win to make history for themselves.”
According to Al-Badri, “the new Ahli needs a little time to find its feet and solidify as a team. I want to thank my players for their efforts. We have managed to dominate continental football during a period when we face difficulties. This is amazing. This is an important trophy. Winning this title against the challenges that we faced last season and this current period is amazing. This title is a reward for my players who faced many difficulties but managed to claim victory.  Leopards is a very good team, better than most of our opponents in the past Champions League campaign.”
Al-Badri praised veteran player Barakat’s performance. “He was awesome. Barakat led the team to this victory and I believe he was man of the match. I want also to applaud Emad Meteb’s performance, too. I know he will regain his form very soon. Rami Rabiaa was amazing, too. The young lad has a very bright future.” Rabiaa scored the opener.
Ahli’s captain Wa’el Gomaa: “I thought the match would be tougher than this but it passed easily. We faced a big team and title holders but we were well prepared and up to the challenge.”
“The Ahli fans’ attendance was a big stimulus for us,” Ahli striker Dominique da Silva said. “We played a good game that matches our club’s history in the continent. Leopards is a good team and did their best but we were better and we fought for the title that we really needed to cheer up our fans and our country.”
Ahmed Abdel-Zaher, another of Ahli’s strikers who missed some glorious chances expressed happiness over the victory as it was his first title with the team. “I wish I could have scored but it is enough that we won and that Ahli supporters are back in the stands.”
For security concerns following last year’s killing of 74 soccer fans in a league game, football matches in Egypt have since been held behind doors with only a few exceptions.

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