Al Ahly fans praise team’s performance this season

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian side Al Ahly lines up for a team photo before the CAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, on March 7, 2020. COURTESY: TWITTER/Al Ahly

On March 11, Egyptian giants Al Ahly extended their unbeaten streak in this season’s Egyptian Premier League to 17 matches following a 1-1 draw against Smouha at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.

Al Ahly were on a 16-game winning run in the league this season but narrowly missed out on equaling the record they set in 2004/2005 when they won their first 17 matches.

During this run, Al Ahly have scored 46 goals, an average of 2.71 goals a game, while only conceding four times.

The league has since been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but even so, the league leaders are a healthy 16 points ahead of second-placed Arab Contractors and 17 points ahead of Pyramids F.C. in third.

When the season resumes, many fans are confident that it will be a matter of time before they wrap up a record-extending 42nd league title.

Al Ahly fans are used to success and some credit the management of the club and players as a major factor behind this season’s extraordinary run.

“I think it is normal that Al Ahly is doing very well. The club is seeing a lot of management stability. Stability reflects on their performance and their results, those are normal. Also, players get their full package of rights; therefore, they exert their efforts for the team. They also defend jealously,” Khalek El Sheikh told CGTN Africa.

For some fans, they want to see local success translated into continental success. Al Ahly are eight-time winners of the CAF Champions League but last lifted the trophy in 2013.

“I think we’ve already won the league. If we win, no one will be able to catch us. Still, we want to expand that success to Africa,” Mohamed Abdel Wahab said.

Al Ahly is in the semifinals of this year’s CAF Champions League and will face Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco over two legs for a place in the final.

Some fans have likened Al Ahly’s success this season to that of English Premier League leaders Liverpool who went on an 18-game winning streak before a 3-0 loss to Watford ended their run.

Ahmed Mostafa said: “Despite the fact that the two teams are far away from each other, there are similarities. Liverpool is playing in the Champions League Al Ahly is also doing well in the CAF Champions League. Both teams are performing well. Al Ahly is on a winning streak and reaching a high-performance standard.”

In December 2004, Al Ahly, under legendary manager Manuel Jose, became the first Egyptian club to win all its matches in the first half of a season since the league’s inception in 1948 when they won 13 matches in a row.

Al Ahly also holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in the league after they avoided defeat for 71 matches between 2004 and 2007. In 2017, Al Ahly became the first team to go through an entire Egyptian Premier League season unbeaten since it began featuring more than 14 teams.