CAIRO: Ahly playmaker Mohamed Abou-Trika lauded the warm reception he got in Algeria ahead of his side’s African Champions League clash against JS Kabylie.
Kabylie chairman Mohand Cherif Hannachi said earlier on Thursday that his side were preparing a ‘surprise reception’ for the mild-mannered and shy Abou-Trika.
Algerian media have consistently praised the 31-year-old for trying to ease tensions between Egypt and their North African rivals following two bad-tempered World Cup qualifiers last year.
"Two brothers will face each other on Sunday," Abou-Trika was quoted as saying on Ahly’s official website on Thursday.
"What happened before is already behind us. The bond between Algerian and Egyptian people is very strong and can’t be affected by a football game.
"I’ve felt at home since arriving in Algeria. Such a great reception was important to put an end to any problems once and for all."
Kabylie top Group B with maximum six points after beating Ismaili and Nigeria’s Heartland in their first two games.
Six-time African champions Ahly, who settled for a 1-1 draw at Heartland before defeating bitter rivals Ismaili 2-1 at Cairo Stadium, are second on four points.
The group winners and runners-up will qualify for the semi finals of Africa’s premier club competition.
"We want to win or at least get a draw," Abou-Trika, who scored a superb goal in Egypt’s 6-3 friendly defeat of DR Congo on Wednesday, added.
"Kabylie are a strong team but we want to move a step closer towards a place in the semis."