Mohamed Abouzeid is a member of the FIFA Fan Movement
He recently attended matches at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™
Here's his first-hand account of the experience
Sixteen years ago, in December 2005, Al Ahly SC participated at the FIFA Club World Cup™ for the first time in their history.
At that time, I was attending university and would never miss a single Al Ahly match, travelling across Africa to support the team from the stands. However, due to the tournament being held in Japan, I was unable to travel and be with the team.
That day a new wish was born within me and every 'Ahlawy'. That wish was to follow Al Ahly to the Club World Cup. As our chant goes: "Wherever you may go, we follow you."
Sixteen years later, this wish became a reality and I attended Al Ahly’s first match at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™. My team is playing at the highest level in a world club competition, and this is something I am very proud of. My team’s presence among the world’s continental champions is a historic event.
The moment when Hussein Elshahat scored Al Ahly’s winning goal is one of the most memorable moments I have experienced in following Al Ahly over the last 30 years. It is a moment that I will cherish forever. For me and as a supporter, the joy of seeing your team score a goal at a World Cup is completely different. There is no bigger glory. What provides a different flavour to this year’s FIFA Club World Cup experience is the fact that it takes place at stadiums set to host the FIFA World Cup™, just 22 months from now.
Despite the difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing restrictions between fans, the tournament’s atmosphere has been very good and provided fans of the clubs attending some eternal memories.
When I was a child, my family always took me to the stadium to watch Al Ahly’s matches. From there, my passion for football started, as well as my love for Al Ahly of course. Now, I finally got the opportunity to give my son the same experience, that my family gave to me when I was a child.
4 February was my son Selim’s first ever Al Ahly match, the team he loves too. He got to sit with Al Ahly’s supporters and was so happy and excited. The next morning, I found Selim sitting alone in his room, singing the famous chant “Let’s go Ahly”. This was music to my ears!
I consider him to be a very lucky child due to the fact that his first ever live Al Ahly match was a victory in the FIFA Club World Cup. There is no better start to his Al Ahly journey than that.
It was not just Selim that experienced this moment. The stadium had lots of families in attendance. I was witnessing right in front of me the love for Al Ahly being taught and passed down from generation to generation.
In the semi-final against Bayern Munich, Al Ahly may have lost, but I’m sure the players benefited from testing themselves, to see where they stand in comparison to European football. For my son and the other boys and girls, there was also a lesson: football involves winning and losing.
At the final whistle, we saluted our players, thanking them for their effort against the strongest club team in the world. We will demand an even bigger effort in the third-place match, to try and add another bronze medal to the one won in 2006.
One day, I hope the stands will be full of fans again, and I get to see Al Ahly in the final and they win. Even as an adult, you never stop dreaming!