El Gouna stadium will host Ahly’s game against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates on Sunday after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) turned down a request by the Red Devils to postpone the match.
Matches are regularly moved outside Cairo due to lingering security concerns in the capital following the Egyptian army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.
Egyptian authorities are enforcing a crowd ban that is regularly violated by the hardcore supporters of Ahly and Zamalek, who attend games almost at will.
“The heat and the fact that we will be playing in front of empty seats will be a factor that will affect both teams. However, I hope the fasting period counts in our favour and we should take the game to them,” Orlando Pirates coach Roger deSa was quoted as saying by South African media.
“Scoring early will kill off the nerves and I hope the game plan we have will work well.”
Ahly players insisted they would not break their fast during the game, so did their Zamalek counterparts as the White Knights face Congo’s AC Leopards away from home in another afternoon kick-off.
Al Ahly have beaten all South African clubs they hosted in Egypt, Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town, Platinum Stars and Supersport United.
Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef
“I told the players these circumstances (match during fasting) are obligatory and we have to deal with it. I told them we had difficult conditions last year and yet we won the Champions League. So we have to work under any condition.
“Orlando is a very good team. They are the champions of South Africa and we respect them much and know they have some talented international players. But Ahly play every game just to win”
Pirates coach Roger deSa
“I think the guys focus for this game has been phenomenal. The level of commitment and focus at training the last couple of days has been immense.
“I think the players are ready for the battle in Egypt. It won’t be easy of course but I think most of the guys understand what victory in Cairo will mean to them and to the supporters.”