Saturday 05 June 2021
Books – Muhammad Hammam:
In recent years, Tunisias Esperance Sportive Club led the scenes about crises in which it was a party during African competitions, specifically the African Champions League, which witnessed the brown witch on four previous occasions, the last of which was the (2019) version.
Esperance, before the Al-Ahly match, which is scheduled to take place on the 19th of this month, received a threat from the Confederation of African Football “CAF”, which is to warn the club against the presence of the fans in the upcoming matches after the presence of some of the “Bab Souika” fans in the Algerian youth meeting of Belouizdad in The second leg of the quarter-finals.
The “K” threat to Esperance officials is not the first, and the crises of Tunisia’s champion and its current representative in the African Championship are not the first, and this is what we will explain in the following lines and talk here about the Esperance crises in the past versions of the African competition at the club level:
The Primero de Augusto Crisis:
In the second leg of the semi-finals of the African Champions League (2018), the match between Esperance and Primeiro de Augusto of Angola (August 1st) witnessed unfortunate events on the grounds of the former “Olympic stadium of Rades” now “Hammadi Al-Aqrabi”.
This match caused a major crisis within the corridors of “K” due to the behavior of the Esperance fans, specifically in the “Al-Ferage” stadium, which is dedicated to Ultras Esperance, in addition to the poor level of referee Gani Sikazoui.
The match ended with a result (4-2) in favor of Esperance, but the Angolan team demanded “K” to repeat the match due to poor arbitration and also the riots by the Esperance fans, which ignited fireworks in the stadium.
“K”, for its part, responded to Esperance by imposing a financial penalty of 300,000 dollars, but this penalty did not prevent Esperance supporters from continuing the riots and the act was repeated again.
For his part, Wadih Al-Jari, President of the Tunisian Federation, commented on the decisions of the Disciplinary Committee with “K”, saying: “The African Union decided to undo the closure of the (Al-Feraj) runway, and the fans will be allowed to attend the match with maximum capacity (Al-Ahly match), because Esperance cannot be punished. The fine and the closure of the runway together.”
In the final of the same edition of the African Champions League (2018), the return match between Esperance and Al-Ahly witnessed unfortunate events while the Al-Ahly bus was heading to the match stadium.
Mohamed Youssef, the general manager and acting director of football in Al-Ahly during this time commented on these events, saying: “Our bus was attacked and destroyed while we were heading to the match stadium, the atmosphere was completely far from football, as one of the players suffered a severe injury, which caused him to leave the stadium.” the list”.
Al-Ahly’s bus was attacked by the Esperance fans by throwing stones before entering the stadium, which caused Hisham Mohamed to suffer a facial injury.
Youssef also spoke about this match, revealing in televised statements: “Indeed, Al-Ahly played this final without video technology, I could not withdraw.”
He continued, “The matter was inquired about, we should have played the match after that, we complain and prove the matter, but withdrawing from the match had other consequences.”
For the second time in a row and in the final of the (2019) version between Esperance and Moroccan Wydad Casablanca, the “Bab Souika” team was a party to a new crisis that led to the Moroccan team’s withdrawal from the match due to the failure to count Walid El Karti’s goal and not to operate the “VAR” technology.
The crisis reached the courts of the International Football Association “FIFA”, so that the decision was in favor of Esperance and crowning the fourth star at the expense of Wydad.
Despite this, the Moroccan newspapers triggered many surprises about this issue, as the newspaper “Hisport” said that the first man within the Confederation of African Football “CAF” Ahmed Ahmed, the former president of “CAF”, admitted that he was subjected to many threats from Esperance officials to resolve the coronation Officially for the “Bab Soeika” team, in exchange for the exclusion of the friendly team.
The Moroccan newspaper said that Ahmed Ahmed admitted receiving threats from the Esperance administration, as he said during his testimony that the masses were going to erupt in a revolution inside the stadium.
On the other hand, Constan Omari, Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football, confirmed during this period that what happened in the return match between Esperance and Wydad at the Rades stadium was very bad, given the atmosphere in the match.
The vice-president of “CAF” added, in statements carried by the Moroccan newspaper “Al-Muktab”: “The match got out of control, in the version before the last, the same problems occurred with Al-Ahly, which was also renewed with Wydad, the security and organizational conditions were substandard.”
For his part, the Mauritanian Ahmed Ould Yahya, the match observer, said, in statements to the newspaper “Hsport”,: “Wydad Sports did not withdraw due to the video assistant referee technology, and Ahmed Ahmed, president of the African Confederation, asked me to inform the referee of the meeting, Bakari Gasama, to end the confrontation, and I am one of the finished it.”
In the second leg of the preliminary round of the Champions League competition, and before Esperance faced Chad’s Elect Sport in the last version, Riad Touiti, head of the legal committee of the Tunisian club, sent several warning messages to the fans of “Bab Souika”, saying on “Mosaic” radio: “Our fans should learn from the mistakes of the past.” Which almost cost us recently the CAF Champions League title.”
He added, “It is unreasonable for the use of fireworks to continue in an intense manner, similar to what happened in the Moroccan Wydad match in the final of the last edition of the Champions League, to the extent that vision is almost non-existent in the stadium and on television.”
Days before facing Al-Ahly in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Champions League, “CAF” threatened the Esperance administration, represented in the failure of the fans to attend the upcoming matches in the African Championship due to the decision not to attend the fans after the Corona virus pandemic.
The threat of “K” came due to the presence of some of the Esperance fans in the last team meeting against the Algerian youth of Belouizdad, which ended in favor of the “blood and gold” team with a penalty shootout.
Despite the decision of “K”, Tunisian radio “Mosaique” revealed that there is a demand from the Esperance fans to attend the next Al-Ahly match.