For more than 100 years, Zamalek and Al-Ahly have met on 237 occasions, but the Century Final on Friday evening will be the most important of all.
Why? Because events gain their importance from their rarity, and the final of the African Champions League between two teams from the same country – and indeed from the same city – is an event that has never happened before.
And when it happens for the first time, it will be between the leaders of the continent: Zamalek and Al-Ahly, so that the confrontation becomes the first and last opportunity at the same time to write a history that the winner will celebrate forever, and the loser will regret it until its disappearance.
And 26 years ago, Zamalek and Al-Ahly gave us a thumbnail of a scene on Friday evening, when they met in the African Super Cup.
Saddam is the only one for the two teams in a continental final, and with the victory of Zamalek that day, the members of the White Castle had a permanent source of pride in crowning a title that was not repeated with the same circumstances again.
And for this, he saw FilGoal.com The final of the century is more similar to the 1994 African Super Cup than any other derby played between Zamalek and Al-Ahly throughout history, as it is a match whose result cannot be replaced and will remain forever in the minds of our minds.
The famous continental supercar was held on January 16, 1994 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it was an extraordinary match because the coach sitting on the bench seats of Zamalek on that day was Mahmoud El-Gohary, the historic Al-Ahly player and coach.
And the famous Ayman Mansour shell 6 minutes before the end of the confrontation was enough to crown Zamalek, in a match that witnessed the expulsion of Mohamed Youssef, the Al-Ahly player, by the decision of the South African referee Petros Matabella.
Adel Abdul Rahman, Al-Ahly player, says at the time to FilGoal.com: “The presence of the late Mahmoud El-Gohary with Zamalek was a strange thing for us.”
In the South African clash, El-Gohary decided to travel to the Zamalek mission early, recalling that Hussein Abdel-Latif, Zamalek player, in an interview with FilGoal.com: “Preparing for this match was different. We traveled to South Africa early. It was a different match in the presence of Mahmoud El-Gohary, which is my path. African”.
And because it was the first African derby ever, it was a special preparation without a doubt, as Hady Khashaba tells FilGoal.com: “Preparing for Super 1994 was completely different from the league, as were the conditions for holding the match in South Africa, the long and very difficult flight and playing in a different atmosphere.”
Mahmoud Abu al-Dahab confirms in his interview with FilGoal.com: “Al-Ahly and Zamalek matches are always beyond expectations, even if they are on a shantytown, let alone the African Super match!”
Yasser Ryan admits to FilGoal.com: “We had intense focus during the match, but, to be honest, most of the players had over-confidence. Al-Ahly was full of brilliant names at the time, and we had won all the tournaments and felt that we were going to play 90 minutes and return to the Super Cup.”
Al-Ahly had defeated Zamalek in the league in September 1993 by three goals without a response, a match that witnessed the expulsion of Nabil Mahmoud, the white defender, after two minutes at the hands of Syrian referee Jamal al-Sharif.
For his part, Sami El Shishini, the star of Zamalek, reveals an important factor that contributed to the victory of his team in his interview with FilGoal.com: “We had an advantage which was facing us before the Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, so we traveled a week before the match and got well accustomed to the hypoxia factor.”
And Hisham recalls FilGoal.com: “The Confederation of African Football contacted me before the match to shoot with the championship cup. I arrived before Ahmed Schubert, the leader of Al-Ahly at the time, and I said to myself this is a good omen.”
The leader of Zamalek adds: “Al-Ahly refused to travel with us on the plane heading to South Africa, and we met in the same match, and Al-Ahly players refused to greet us before the match, as the red team left the dressing room as if they did not know us.”
And stresses: “Despite this, I was very happy that the match between Al-Ahly and Zamalek was in an African atmosphere, away from the tension and pressure of the crowd.”
He reveals: “Mahmoud El-Gohary succeeded in spreading the soul in the team in a strong way, as if it were a war battle.”
Abu Al-Dahab remembers the scenes of the match: “Usually I was playing as a right-back, but Alan Harris pushed me in this match as a right-winger to be close to the match and to put pressure on Ashraf Yusef. I missed an opportunity that was hardly saved by Hussein Al-Sayed.”
And he is surprised by the accuracy of El Gohary: “I paid a lot in this match, as is my habit, and it is an oddity that Zamalek was making a human wall of 3 players even if the place of the violation was in the middle of the field and it was impossible to record it. Mahmoud El-Gohary did not leave anything to chance.”
As for Ashraf Youssef, the Zamalek player, he says in his interview with FilGoal.com Losing a derby is different from any other defeat: “If we lose the top game, it is difficult to go to the club or to trainings. Any coach makes a mistake when he says it is a match like any other game.”
He added: “I did not lose Al-Ahly as I remember. I did not participate in the match that ended with Al-Ahly winning by 3 goals, and I saw the sadness of the loss in the eyes of the fans inside the club.”
He continued, “We took rain boots with us during the confrontation. We were prepared for any circumstance, and Al-Gohary met with me with Khaled Al-Ghandour, as he used to meet with each of the two privately.”
Abu Al-Dahab says about Ayman Mansour’s goal: “The match was held in high humidity, and we received a goal from a stroke of luck. Ayman Mansour was not used to shooting at all, but he shot and the ball entered our net.”
On the other hand, Ashraf Youssef explains more about that shot: “Ayman Mansour was not paying at all, but his essential demand to pay from outside the penalty area, during the team training, he was paid from everywhere on the field, so that some players asked him to stop paying.” .
And he completed: “Al-Gohary expected every small and big game during the match, and predicted the match scenarios, and hoped that we would score within the last 10 minutes or 15 minutes, which is what really happened because the early scoring will make us defend the whole match against the red team.”
And Yasser Rayan admits: “If we lost the championship against any team other than Zamalek, that would matter, but losing in the summit match is always painful.”
Reda Abdel Aal
Reda Abdel-Al was recently transferred in a resounding deal from Zamalek to Al-Ahly directly, but he was not in the winning party this day.
Al-Shishini admits: “We played a mule against Reda Abdel-Al, and we wanted to prove that we were not affected by his departure.”
Essam Marei agrees with him: “It was the first match after Reda Abdel-Al moved to Al-Ahly, and we were motivated by the player, which caused strong interference on him.”
As we mentioned in the aforementioned, the match knew Muhammad Youssef was dismissed, a decision that Al-Ahly players saw at the time as an important reason for their defeat.
On the other hand, most of Zamalek players believe that the referee was fair, but some of them go further and propose the theory that the referee wronged the White Castle by not expelling Yusef earlier.
Hussein Abdel Latif, the Zamalek player, says to FilGoal.com: “I was at the top of my level before this match to the point that I envied myself and injured myself at the beginning of the match. I blamed myself for having envied myself. This tournament is one of the most expensive tournaments I won, but I was damaged to the greatest degree because of the injury that I suffered through interference from Mohamed Youssef.”
Abdel-Latif added, “The referee overlooked the expulsion of Youssef, despite his injury. There was unfairness to us from the ruling. This is something suspicious of African arbitration. He entered with both feet on me and hit me in the ankle and knee together.”
And he admits: “The referee did not show any card, whether yellow or red, he was away from the game, but after that he expelled Youssef in an unworthy ball.”
He reveals the consequences of the injury: “I stayed for two months after the injury, during which the doctors were not able to determine the correct diagnosis. Then I went to Abdel Moneim Emara, accompanied by the doctor Mamdouh Mesbah, and asked him to travel to Germany.”
He continues: “I traveled to Germany for 4 days, where the injury was a cut in part of the cartilage in the knee, and then I returned to Egypt quickly.”
He explains: “I did not speak with Mohamed Youssef for a long time before Taha Ismail, the coach of the Egyptian national team at the time, intervened and sought reconciliation between us, and he apologized to me and the matter was over.”
On the other hand, Khashaba says, with his calm tone controlling his speech: “We were affected by the expulsion of Mohamed Youssef, and Zamalek scored the goal at a difficult time, and it was not easy to adjust the result.”
A calm tone that Abu Al-Dahab did not participate in, who said: “We were a good team and included many names, but the referee interfered badly to play the championship role. It is not our habit in Al-Ahly to download a loss to an arbitration match, but what happened in the Super Cup was a crude matter, we were forbidden.” From Muhammad Yusuf and confused the match. ”
Adel Abdel-Rahman recalls: “We played a strong match until the referee intervened to steal the shot and turn things around by giving him a fake red card that led to us losing the match and an important title. The referee was the hero of the match, we were exposed to a clear injustice, the referee completely corrupted the match.”
Going to the other side, the Chechen shows the opposite point of view: “The referee was wonderful and the dismissal of Muhammad Yusuf was correct. As long as the match passed without problems, then there is no problem in refereeing.”
As Zamalek goalkeeper Hussein al-Sayed says to FilGoal.com: “African refereeing is fair if the two teams are from the same country, in addition to some arbitration errors that do not affect the outcome of the match.”
On the dismissal of Mohamed Youssef: “Yusef’s mistake required a red card. The referee will not expel any player in a final match unless the game needs this decision, especially since the match would have decided a championship.”
The foul, after which Yusef was expelled, was to the right of the master’s goal. Did he watch the game well during the match? A question he answered, saying: “In fact, I have not seen it well from the field. My focus is on many things, including the ball carrier and the striker, how our defense line is spread, and is it organized or not.”
He adds, “But I saw the game clearly in the televised replay.”
He also added, “I think Ibrahim Hassan deserves to be sent off during the match after objecting to the improper referee.”
Of course, Yasser Rayan shares his opinion with his colleagues from Al-Ahly: “The match carries bad memories for us with the referee who slaughtered Al-Ahly and expelled Muhammad Yusef, which led to a change in the course of the match and this reflected on the result.”
He adds: “On that day, I passed the ball between the feet of Emmanuel Amunike, the Zamalek player, and he committed a strong violation with me, but the referee disregarded anything, and in return Youssef was expelled because of an unworthy ball.”
Nader warm-up mr
One of the classic scenes of Zamalek in the nineties era is Nader Al-Sayed’s warm-up at the end of matches and entering him instead of Hussein Al-Sayed due to his distinction in penalties.
The same scene almost happened in Super Africa 1994, had it not been for Ayman Mansour’s shell, Nader did not slow down and quickly brought him back to the bench.
Hussein Al-Sayed remembers this situation: “The match was nearing its end, and here I asked the coaching staff to order Nader Al-Sayed to warm up in preparation for the penalty shoot-out, but Ayman Mansour scored the winning goal after a one-minute request, so I asked Nader Al-Sayed to sit.”
Beyond the storm
Zamalek player Talaat Mansour reveals a behavior that betrays a lot of sportsmanship on the part of Al-Gohary after winning the title.
Mansour says to FilGoal.com: “Al-Jawhari asked us to postpone the celebrations until we return to the hotel or until we arrive in Cairo, taking into account the feelings of Al-Ahly players, especially that we are in another country and not in Egypt.”
As for Hussein Abdel-Latif, and despite his release injured that day, he also bears happy memories: “I was staying with Ayman Mansour in the same room, and the cup was with us tonight. It is a very precious tournament for me and it was a beautiful occasion during which I had my daughter. .
Al-Shishini admits that the taste of the coronation was touched with the tread of Cairo: “I did not feel special in the stadium itself, but after we returned from South Africa and got off the plane, I saw an unnatural number of Zamalek fans. Then I felt the joy of being crowned champions.”
Hussein Al-Sayed said: “I achieved a precious tournament for my name, my history and my team. Everyone remembers this tournament and memorizes the names of those who participated in it well, and this is what makes me very happy because my name is still repeated because of it.”
He adds, “We did not win the championship against any team! We scored against Al-Ahly, our traditional rivals, so it had a special taste.”
Essam Marei confirms: “After returning to Cairo airport, I was surprised that there were about 30,000 fans waiting for us to celebrate with us.”
On the contrary, Al-Ahly players had to endure a long and arduous journey home to the homeland without embracing the cup.
Hady Khashaba reveals: “Despite arbitration injustice, Tariq Salim taunted all the players, and Muhammad Yusef got a share of that.”
And he adds, “The return journey was difficult and long, and the atmosphere of loss prevailed over everyone.”
In the same direction, Yasser Rayan says: “The return journey was difficult and full of frustration and intense sadness.”
After 26 years, there will be no more worthy of the stars of Zamalek and Al-Ahly in Super 1994 than warning their successors of a bitter defeat that they will not be able to compensate until the end of their career, or a promise of eternal glory that they will never take away.
Khashaba advises Al-Ahly players: “I tell Al-Ahly players to play with self-confidence and focus, and to be free from the pressures of the results of previous matches with Al-Zamak.”
As for Abu Al-Dahab, he says: “I advise Al-Ahly players to stay away from controversies and provocation and to be very focused on the field only. Al-Ahly’s reaching 13 final matches is a good thing, but winning the championship is only an achievement.”
Yasser Rayan tries to take advantage of the 1994 mistake: “I warn Al-Ahly players against overconfidence, and urge them to keep their focus until the last second, regardless of the outcome.”
Hussein Abdel-Latif says: “I ask Zamalek players to do their utmost in Friday’s match, because they will remember this tournament forever, just as we remember Super 94 after 26 years.”
The Chechen also sends a direct message to the current generation: “You write history. You won the Confederation, the Egyptian Cup, the Egyptian Super and the African Super, and thus winning the Champions League against Al-Ahly and then winning the African Super Cup again and attending the Club World Cup will be an unforgettable achievement.”
Hussein Al-Sayed concludes: “The matches between Zamalek and Al-Ahly remain Derby matches, even if a match in the African final.”
“Players have to focus hard in addition to being calm. They have to put their nerves (in the fridge), because these things are key to winning the game. If otherwise happens, the players will not be able to respond to the match.”
“The current generation reminds me of the generation I played for. They have a very high fighting spirit and a fierce desire to win championships, in addition to playing collectively. Unlike previous generations, it is unnecessary to mention that they were characterized by individualism.”
Will Zamalek repeat a great victory that it achieved 26 years ago, or will Al-Ahly take revenge on a more important occasion? We’ll know the answer on Friday evening.