Interview with Ultras ahlawy (AL Ahly - Egypt)

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Most people have never heard about football fans and ultras from Africa, here you can finally read a few things about how it is to be an ultra in North Africa, Egypt.

Ultras ahlawy

Hi, please introduce yourself:

A. ,1983 , basically I was born to be an Ahly fan and I am a founder member of the Ultras Ahlawy group.

Could you tell us a bit about the history of your group?

Basically in the stadium there is 2 groups that sit in 2 different places ( ALU & AFC ) Ultras ahlawy is the 3rd and newest group that contains former members of both groups that combine the most extreme and passionate ultras in the curva
What distinguish us from the other 2 groups that we are NOT recognized by the club as we are considered a bit extreme to their taste due to our love for violence

How is your group organised? Do you have a own section in your stand? How do you travel to games?

We sit in gate 11 in Curva Nord of Cairo stadium , right beside AFC ( one of the other 2 groups ) , Ultras Ahlawy is like a family , this is why we are very selective when it comes to accepting members to preserve the family atmosphere within the group , you don’t ask to be a member of Ultras ahlawy , you have to be invited to become a member and that’s what make us .
We rent our own coach , sometimes we organize our own conveys to certain grounds where a Cairo plate won’t cause your car to get wrecked while you are inside the ground

Do your group have any special dress code?

The dress code is mainly red , wearin any red shirt would do , but right now we are working on our own clothesline and the 1st product line should be ready in hopefully 2-3 weeks

In Europe most groups use to meet in the group "house" or in their pub before games. Take some beers and talk. Beers and football is common for most fans in Europe, how is it for you guys?

Answer removed, wrong people seem to read here as well.

Is there any other big teams in same city as you belongs to? If yes, do you have any problems with this on normal days

Cairo is the host of the biggest derby in Africa The Ahly vs Zamalek , it was ranked among the top 7 fiercest derby list compiled by BBC a few years back ( It is labeled as the derby of Africa as the two teams are joint record holders for the African Champions league and they were ranked 1 and 2 in the CAF team of the century list , the rivalry like any derby in the world is full of hatred , it is so violent that
the government imposed a ban on hosting the derby on each team home ground that still stands from 1966 , what happened was Ahly fans setting Zamalek stadium on fire as the ref. awarded a dodgy spot kick against us , the Goalie signaled to the fans to invade the pitch and it was just mayhem
International Ref. are brought for the derby as the affair is so tense that the teams are not willing to accept any decisions against them from a local guy ,
The foreign ref. Phenomena stood from the 40’s till 1996 when the ministry of youth decided to try a local ref. And see how it goes .
Zamalek team walking off the pitch and withdrawing with ten minutes to go as a protest against Ahly’s 2nd goal (the replays showed our striker was 2 yrds ONSIDE)
Riot in the city afterwards with the riot squad called upon to protect Zamalek club HQ across the city from angry fans

Now the derby can only be hosted in the National stadium in order for the police to separate the two set of fans , with difference exits off the bridge for both set of fans in order to ensure they don’t face each other , still trouble erupt in the other sports

4 yrs ago in a handball game in zamalek arena , game had to be called off at HT as Ahly fans rioted in the stands and proceeded to break the Zamalek club HQ back entrance , ever since that incident the handball incident decided to follow their football counterparts by banning games being played on each club home arena
so yeah I think we can say we might have a problem or two between us

Do you have any friendships? If yes, how did they start?

to kill the cliché , no one like us , we are together united against everybody, wherever we go we get stoned , get ambushed , we are the country biggest club and we have strong fan base all around the country , which causes all the small cities with a shitty football team to envy us since

on a personal level , a lot of our boys are very good friends with the lads from the Tunisian firm Ultras El Meckahines , they came to support us when we played in the African CL final , and a few of us ( me included ) went with them to the Handball derby , we are meeting each other in the group stage next week and my house is set to host 18 of their main lads, so the next few days should be a bit crowded around my place

Who is your biggest enemies and why?

Our biggest enemy is the seaside team Ismaily from the Ismalia area on the Suez Canal , But with Ismailia it’s pure hatred , and it goes back to the 1960’s when Israel attacked their city and they had to clear it and move to Cairo and asked us to ground share with us , we declined the offer as we were busy rebuilding our own team that was horrible at the time ,Zamalek later we tried to sign their star player, he was convinced to stay when the Ismaily fans attacked him and threw his car in the canal
For the normal fan , zamalek is the game but from a ultras perspective , Ismaily is the enemy , I personally don’t hate zamalek , I love zamalek the same way you love your annoying 5 yrs old cousin who keeps breaking your house and throwing your CD’s on the ground , they are a joke and they made me live so many great moments

How much is your influence in the club and how is the general relation to them ?

Influence? Next to none , our relationship is nonexistent as we are labeled as trouble makers to them and they want nothing to do with us
We organized a silent protest against them and a walk out as a demonstration for increased ticket prices and that didn’t go well with them which made the relationship even worse

Is there any other groups who also support Al Ahly?

Yeah like I said earlier Ahly Lovers Union sit in the West Stand ( Gate A18 ) while AFC sit in the North Stand in A11
A new group has started last month and sit in the Curva in A8 but whether they will organize themselves as a group or not remains to be seen

Many people have never heard about fans in Africa, when did the ultra style come to Africa and who started to use it?

, Africa is divided to the North Africans (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia ,Libya and Egypt ) and the sub Sahara which contains Black Africa
It’s 2 different cultures all together , in North Africa we are close to places like Spain , Italy , France ,Greece and Turkey they so it’s normal that we are influenced from those places ( in Egypt we are very similar to Turkey since they occupied us for 200 yrs ) with the colonization and everything it was normal for the movement to reach North Africa at one point
The 1st proper firm were the Ultras Le Meckahines from Tunisia 5 yrs ago and they are the most respected and regarded as THE best group , they have some of the most passionate fans maybe worldwide not just in Africa and they organize incredible tifos

Is the ultras style accepted by more "normal" fans in Egypt, or do they see ultras as criminals?

Ppl respect us and more and more ppl are willing to join us every passing day or help us financially when we organize tifo’s , we are on a mission to educate ppl and expand the culture and make ppl understand that the stereotyping image the police and the clubs portrays of us as a bunch of unemployed extremists with a tendency for violence is WRONG , and that being a ultra is not a crime

Why do you use the name "ultras" in your group name? This is a very special name for real ultras in Europe and way to many people and groups use it without any reason, and most of them dont desverve it. Why do you use it?

all the boys in our crew are ppl that know what is a ultra , they know what is expected from them from holding such a name , we still light flares and throw them onto the running track despite the presence of CCTV cameras within the ground and undercover police inside the curva trying to arrest anybody with a flare , ppl that go to every bloody game , every training session , every youth game (u17 , U19 ) , basketball games , volleyball games and handball games , ppl that when they eat they think of a new song , when they drink they think of an idea for a tifo , ppl when they go out with their friends are thinking of a way we can get to the zamalek boys the next time we meet them

we chose the word ultras because it's the perfect way to describe how we feel towards our club which for us is our life and our death , our father and our mother , our wives and kids and our religion
you wake in the morning thinking of Ahly , you go to bed at night dreaming of Ahly and what sort of tifo we gonna make when we reach the champions league final in nov.

mentalite ultras is about a way of life and a state of mind and this is why we chose this word whether we are european / north africains or from another planet , Ultra as it is the closest word to describe the way we feel/support our club , this is why we chose Ultras

How is your opinion about violence in football and especially of your group and which are the greatest incidents where your group have been involved?

Answer removed. Wrong people seem to read here as well.

What is the future planes and targets for your group?

Improve our tifos and we need to come up with more dynamic ways in raising money for our group , also having our own bank account where ppl should donate money for the choreographies instead of collecting money on a short notice before the games

Any "last word" to our users?

More and more ppl are beginning to notice that there is a very good and progressive scene in North Africa , more and more Europeans contact us and come to attend games with us , hopefully what I wrote above helped clear the dust on the scene in Africa and ppl will begin noticing our work and take note that the Ultras Movement isn’t just exclusive to south Americans and Europeans

Thanks to our member Ultras_Ahlawy for this interesting interview.

(This interview was done in July 2007)