Mamelodi Sundowns find fans in their corner in Egypt
If Mamelodi Sundowns beat Egyptian side Al Ahly again‚ there will be celebrations in Egypt too.
The Brazilians are taking a 5-0 lead from the home leg in Atteridgeville against the eight-time Caf Champions League champions into Saturday’s quarterfinal‚ second leg clash at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria (kickoff 6pm SA and Egypt time).
Fans of Zamalek‚ who are Al Ahly’s fiercest rivals‚ were overjoyed when Sundowns thrashed the Red Devils in Pretoria last week.
One Zamalek fan could be seen celebrating wildly amongst the Sundowns faithful at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
The fun continued on social media with @ZamalekUniverse (not Zamalek’s official account) mocking Al Ahly.
In a report carried by the UK’s Telegraph three years ago about the world’s biggest rivalries‚ the Cairo derby came in at fifth.
“Al Ahly have their roots in the struggle against British colonialism while Zamalek were seen as the team of the [Egyptian] king and they have continued to battle each other‚ so violently that entire league seasons have been suspended and cancelled because of riots‚” read the report on the Cairo derby.
“People have died‚ neutral venues were made mandatory and foreign referees have had to be engaged to kill suspicion about bias.”
Despite the fact that Zamalek were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Sundowns in the 2016 final‚ the “White Knights” would rather be in Sundowns’ corner.
As things stand‚ Al Ahly have been allowed to sell 30‚000 tickets for the match at the 80‚000-seater Borg El Arab Stadium by the Egyptian authorities‚ who limit attendances at football matches in the country.