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Al-Ahly without stadium ahead of CAF clash with Pirates
African champions Al-Ahly are currently without a venue ahead of their Champions League match against Orlando Pirates, due to security concerns in Cairo.
With all the turmoil in Egypt, people are shifting away from sports towards the distressing politics. It therefore comes as no surprise that the seven-time African champions are struggling to find a stadium to host their next CAF Champions League match against Orlando Pirates in the second round of Group A fixtures, due to security concerns in Cairo.
Ahly’s football director Hady Khashaba said the club tried to book the army-owned Air Defence Stadium in Cairo and the Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria, but the club received refusals for both after failing to get the necessary security clearance due to the turmoil in the country.
Khashaba told Egyptian media: “The club are in a critical situation because the confirmation has to be sent by the 27th of July, maximum.”
According to Article 8 of the CAF Champions League Regulations, the host team must inform the ‘designated commissioner’ of the date and venue 10 days before the fixture date, but Al-Ahly have yet to send the confirmation of the venue to the South African side ahead of their clash, which is scheduled to be played on August 4.
Could Al-Ahly be forced to play in El-Gouna again?
Security concerns led to last Wednesday’s CAF Champions League derby between Al-Ahly and Zamalek, which was delayed twice, during the opening round of the group stage to be moved to Gouna Stadium, a small Red Sea resort north of Hurghada.
Whichever venue is chosen, the upcoming match against Orlando Pirates is to be played behind closed doors due to a crowd ban from the CAF against Al-Ahly, however, fans from both Cairo giants, majority of which were either Ultras Ahlawy or Ultras White Knights, defied the ban this week and watched the derby from the stands in Gouna.
The next few hours should reveal which city and stadium will host the Ahly’s second match in Group A of the CAF Champions League, but it is very likely the fixture could be postponed.