Al Ahly: The road to continental dominance
The hardest part about excellence is not attaining it, but it is sustaining it. To be continuously at the top, you do not need to take a chance at excellence, but it has to be in your DNA. That has been the case with Al Ahly and they were crowned as not just the Club of the Year, but the Club of the Century by the Confederation of African Football in 2000. They are arguably one of the most successful clubs in the world.
Al Ahly was founded in 1907 as a way to unite young people from across high schools in Egypt who had become very instrumental in the fight against colonialism. Such intentional beginnings are ones that First Touch Africa celebrates as they are core to the reason why we celebrate football. We appreciate football for its ability to unite people from different walks of life towards a common goal. Even though the club was in Egypt, its first President was Mitchel Ince who was a British man. The club went on to unite 50 million fans outside of Egypt.
Winning was never by chance
Just after its inception, the club participated in the Sultan Hussein Cup which ran from 1917 to 1938 and won that competition 7 times. When the Egyptian Premier League was initiated in 1948, Ah Ahly won the championship until 1960. In total, they scooped the cup 39 times with some of these cups coming for 8 years in a row. As a fan, it means watching your team for years and not tasting disappointment like everybody else. It is such a soothing experience. Because success is not constricted by location, it is not surprising that when they took to the continental level, they won the African Champions League in 1982 and 6 times after that. When they play their games, they are able to attract as many as 74 000 in the Cairo’s International Stadium..
Business is as clean as the football they play
Beyond the more than 100 accolades in 100 years that the club has been able to get, Al Ahly is also well commended for the way it is able to handle its business dealings with high standards of professionalism and integrity. Sometimes, we hear about under the table dealings that happen in other clubs, but Al Ahly was even dubbed as the “club of values” by its former president Salem Salim. It is always encouraging to know that behind a team’s glory, there is also some glorious activities that enhance the reputation of the club.
Still soaring high
Presently, the club is being coached by Martin Lasarte after they sacked their former coach Patrice Carteron. This was after they fell short at the face of Tunisia’s Esperance in the CAF Champions League. This sacking is proof that excellence is a guarantee where there exists flexibility to change. As time goes, this club is all out to do well for itself in the continental sports arena.