CAIRO: Ahly and Ismaili chairmen called on fans to behave well in Saturday s Egyptian Premier League clash between the fierce rivals.
League leaders and defending champions Ahly visit fourth-placed Ismaili, who are five points behind the Red Devils, in an anticipated encounter which usually hits headlines for the wrong reasons.
Last season s meeting in Ismaili was disrupted by continuous crowd troubles from Ahly and Ismaili supporters.
Dozens of fireworks and seats were thrown onto the pitch as fans from both sides tried to unsettle the players.
Tensions might not run high this time though, with Egyptian fans becoming united in an unprecedented manner following the incidents which followed the Pharaohs failure to reach the World Cup.
We have to take advantage of such a state among Egyptian people, Ahly chairman Hassan Hamdi told a press conference after a delegation from Ismaili arrived in Cairo in an attempt to cool things down.
Football games should not be considered do-or-die affairs. Any team should accept defeats just like they accept victories. Sports should bring countries together.
Egyptians fans returning from Sudan, where a playoff clash took place between Egypt and Algeria on Nov. 18, said they were attacked by Algerian supporters following the game.
The clashes prompted angry reactions from Egyptian people who called their government to intervene and take a stiff action against Algeria for the behavior of their fans.
Egyptian people consequently put their club differences aside and sent messages of support to their team and coach Hassan Shehata.
We don t have any problems with Ahly. My club and Ahly have an ultimate goal – strengthening the national team with good players, Ismaili chairman Nasr Aboul-Hassan said.
Our visit tonight demonstrated that our relationship with Ahly is very good.
In Tuesday s Cairo derby between Ahly and Zamalek, fans barely hurled insults at each others.
Facebook groups were also created to demand fans to wear the national team s shirts as a sign of support.