Saturday,17 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1344, (11 - 17 May 2017)
Saturday,17 November, 2018
Issue 1344, (11 - 17 May 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Comeback of the Arab clubs

The Arab Clubs Championship is back and on Egyptian soil

Prince Turki Bin Khaled, president of the Arab football Union announces the comeback of the Arab Championship
Prince Turki Bin Khaled, president of the Arab football Union announces the comeback of the Arab Championship

The Arab Clubs Championship has returned after a long absence with our two Egyptian giants Ahly and Zamalek alongside other top notch Arab teams on Egyptian soil.

The competition will include 12 teams divided into three groups with Ahly heading Group A, Zamalek Group B and Sudanese powerhouse Al Mareekh at the head of Group C. The first two groups play in Cairo and Group C in Alexandria. The top team in each group alongside the best runner-up will qualify for the semi-final with the winners in the final. The tournament is from 22 July to 5 August.

Emirati side Al Wehda, Algerian club Nasr Hussein Dai and Jordanian team Al Faisaly join Ahly in Group A with Ahly favourites to top the group. In Group B, Zamalek are joined by Saudi side Al Nasr, Morocco’s Al Rabat and Lebanese squad Al Aahd. Zamalek are expected to finish first in the group.

Group C includes Saudi outfit Al Helal, Tunisian giants Al Taragy and Iraqi side El Naft alongside Sudanese team Al Mareekh. Al Taragy are favourites to top the group.

As a matter of fact all 12 teams are extremely strong and are considered the best among the Arabs apart from a few exceptions. Accordingly the semi-finals will certainly be as thrilling and entertaining as it gets with Egyptian fans hoping to see their two teams making it all the way to the final.

To make things more interesting, the prize money is extremely appealing and shows that the tournament is already well respected before it even starts. The winner will collect a massive $2.5 million while the runner-up will collect $600,000. Third and fourth placed teams will rake in $200,000 each. Even the teams that will bow out in the group stages will collect $100,000 each in addition to $25,000 to every team apart from Ahly and Zamalek because they are the hosts and do not have expenses like the teams coming from abroad.

There is no doubt that both Ahly and Zamalek are the favourites to reach the final since both are playing at home in addition to being the best two teams taking part in the tournament alongside Al Taragy and Al Mareekh who could also fancy their chances of winning the title.

The draw had ever controversial president of Zamalek Mortada Mansour, head of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Hani Abu Rida, Emad Wahid from Ahly’s board in addition to many members from the Egyptian association and representatives from all the other clubs participating. The comeback of the tournament promises to be exciting, entertaining and hopefully well organised.

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