Al Ahly
© AFP

The past
Al Ahly have won countless trophies, including a record seven CAF Champions Leagues (1982, 1987, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012). The Egyptians have also graced three FIFA Club World Cups, in 2005, 2006 and 2008, acquitting themselves well each time and producing their best performance in the second of those appearances, when they finished third.

The present
Al Ahly have endured a difficult year, which began with the Port Said Stadium disaster, in which 72 supporters lost their lives. The rest of the Egyptian season was cancelled following the tragedy, hampering the Cairo side’s build-up to the continental showpiece. Despite their troubled preparations, coach Hossam El-Badry got the very best out of his players as they became African champions yet again, an achievement they dedicated to the fans who died at Port Said.

The future
Egyptian football is in limbo following the suspension of the league at the start of the year. With no date having yet been set for the resumption of the country’s domestic competitions, Al Ahly are free to focus all their attention on Japan 2012.  

Facts and figures
Former stars
Mustafa Kamel Mansour, Mokhtar El Tetsh, Adel Heykal, Hussein Hegazy, Amine Shoair, Abdelkarim Sakr, Toto, Abdelaziz Hammami, Mekawi, Saleh Selim, Taha Ismail, Mahmoud El Gohary, El Dozwee, Ikramy, Mokhtar, Zizo, Mahmoud El Khateeb, Safwat, Sabet El Batal, Ahmed Shobeir, Taher Abuzied, Magdi Abdelghani, Ibrahim Hassan, Hossam Hassan, Hany Ramzy.

Key players
Mohamed Aboutrika, Mohamed Nagy Geddo, Hossam Ghaly, Mohamed Barakat, Emad Moteab, Wael Gomaa.

Qualifying statistics
As reigning Egyptian champions, Al Ahly joined the CAF Champions League in the first knockout round, where they saw off Ethiopian Coffee 3-0 on aggregate. In the next round they beat Stade Malien 3-2 over two legs.

In the group stage, the Egyptian giants were drawn with eternal rivals Zamalek, TP Mazembe of Congo DR and Ghana’s Berekum Chelsea. Winning three and drawing two of their six games, the Red Devils topped the section by a point and moved into the semi-finals, where they faced Nigerian outfit Sunshine Stars. Held to a 3-3 draw in the away leg after taking the lead three times, they eventually won through on aggregate thanks to a 1-0 success in the return in Cairo.

Facing them in the final were Tunisia’s Esperance. A late El-Sayed Hamdi goal gave Ahly a 1-1 draw in the first leg, played in Alexandria, with goals from Geddo and Walid Suleiman securing them a decisive 2-1 win in the second leg in Rades, the Tunisians’ only goal coming from Yannick N’Djeng five minutes from time.

The numbers game
22 – The number of goals Al Ahly scored in their ten matches in the 2011/12 CAF Champions League. Star man Mohamed Aboutrika and the gifted Geddo were their leading scorers with six and five goals respectively.