CAIRO: Mohamed Barakat pleaded with Ultras Ahlawy, a group of ardent Ahly fans, to end their boycott of the team’s games and attend the crucial clash against Algeria’s JS Kabylie later this month.
Ultras Ahlawy opted to halt their enthusiastic support from the stands last month in protest at the treatment they get from the police.
Their decision came after tens of them were injured in a clash with police forces during a pre-season friendly game between Ahly and Kafr Al-Sheikh.
However, with the anticipated African Champions League between Ahly and Kabylie at Cairo Stadium looming, Barakat called on the hard-core fans to reverse their decision.
"We greatly miss you. Things have been difficult for us since you decided not to attend our games," Barakat said while looking towards the camera during a TV show in the early hours of Sunday.
"The matches have really become tasteless. We need you to return to the stadium against Kabylie."
The Ultras groups in Egypt have been constantly criticized by media from the day they emerged.
They are always accused of stirring hatred and putting the lives of other ‘friendly supporters’ at risk.
However, some people give them credit for the enthusiastic atmosphere they create inside the stadiums.
Ahly are seeking revenge after slumping to a 1-0 defeat by Kabylie in an ill-tempered Champions League clash in Algeria last week.
The match was marred by an ugly brawl between Ahly’s players and the stadium’s stewards after the visitors had a goal disallowed for offside with four minutes remaining.
The Red Devils were also infuriated after their bus was stoned before and after the game, the incidents that prompted them to file a complaint to the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Ahly have four points from three games, five behind Group B leaders Kabylie, who are frontrunners to reach the semi finals.
"We want the Ultras in our games because they strike fear into our opponents," Barakat, who has won with Ahly a host of local and continental titles since joining in 2004, added.
"Their presence is essential."