Al Ahly SC fans had a solemn night on Friday after the heavy loss to EST by three clean goals, resulting in losing the African title for the second year in a row, especially that this came as a surprise after winning the first round by 3-1, and getting very close to winning the ninth title.
The players were in a state of deep sadness following the end of the match, and some of them were hysterically crying in the dressing room at the Rades stadium, where the team had previously celebrated the champions title in 2006 against CS Sfaxien, and the second time in 2012 against EST. However, this time the situation was completely different.
Mohamed Youssef, the general coach and acting football director, imposed a major fine on players, and not just due to the loss, but also since the performance was disappointing.
The team’s technical director, French Patrice Carteron, lived some exceptional moments himself following the dream to win the second title after winning the championship in 2015 against TP Mazembe, which made him angry and disappointed, which was obvious to all after the match.
Carteron’s anger intensified, when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) accused him of being an accomplice in the incident of Moroccan Azaro tearing off his shirt at the first-leg match, which are all negative situations that Carteron had to go through over the past few hours.
The players who were most affected by the loss in Al Ahly were Hossam Ashour, the team’s captain, and Waleed Soliman, the team’s star in the current season, as both hysterical cried once they lost the African dream.
Ashour dreamed of winning the sixth title in his history to match Wael Gomaa’s record.
Soliman also wished to win the title for the third time in his history, but all these dreams vanished into thin air in the Rades stadium on Friday evening.
Loss is first nail in Carteron’s coffin
Mahmoud El Khatib, the chairperson of Al Ahly club, is preparing to lead a corrective revolution for the team after the loss on Friday against EST.
El Khatib is holding a special session with the technical staff led by Patrice Carteron, in the presence of Abdel Aziz Abdel Shafy, the sports director and member of the football committee, in addition to Alaa Abdel Sadek and Hossam Ghaly, members of the committee, as well as Mohamed Youssef, the general coach and acting manager of football, in order to discuss the reasons for the loss, even though the team won the first-leg round in Borg El Arab stadium by 3-1, however, the team’s performance in Rades was shocking.
The sure thing is that losing the African title was putting the first nail in Carteron’s coffin with Al-Ahly, especially that the team did not perform at its best even though they managed to reach the final.
Carteron raised wide controversy after his absence from the press conference that followed the match, which raised rumours about his resignation, however, Mohamed Youssef denied that.
This loss is also the final nail in the coffin of many other players in Al Ahly, such as Mido Gaber and Islam Mohareb. Even though they had the full chance over the past period, they did not manage to entirely take advantage of it.
For his part, El Khatib seemed angry about the loss for the second time, and is he is expected to intervene to readjust the track after his patience with the technical staff in the continental matches.
In the same context, the football committee in Al Ahly is preparing to hold new deals in January during the winter transfers period, to support the team which turned out to be in need of contracting with more than one player.
Hussein El Shahat, the player in Al Ain FC, remains a strategic target for Al Ahly over the upcoming period, even though there is a difficulty in including him as he is committed to his club with a contract.
Al Ahly entered negotiations with the player more than once over the past few months, however, they were not successful.
On a different level, the team will be taking a rest without training—a decision from the technical staff after returning from Tunisia on Saturday, before resuming training on Monday.
Apart from technical matters, Al Ahly has filed an official complaint to the CAF after the events the team was subjected to by EST fans, causing a head injury for midfielder Hisham Mohamed.
Al Ahly is expected to respond over the next few days to the violations against the club, especially that there is a state of anger, which CAF used against the club, represented in suspending Moroccan Waleed Azaro, the team’s attacker, and accusing Carteron of being complicit with Azaro in an official statement.
All of this triggered an overall state of discontent in the team whose officials feel they are dealing with all these challenges alone, without support from the Football Association and its President Hani Abo Reda, as well as the FIFA, unlike the positive role played by the Tunisian Football Federation with EST over the past few days since the end of the first-leg match in Borg El Arab and its success in pressuring CAF to suspend Azaro.
The past few hours have seen intense contact between Mahmoud El Khatib and Abo Reda, with great blame from Al Ahly’s side who was taking part in the championship, carrying Egypt’s name, all of it caused tension with the Egyptian Football Association.