Ultras Paint Colorful Picture for Egyptian Football, Reject Violence

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Huge display in Zamalek stands

While Ahli's 1-0 victory over Zamalek didn't live up to expectations on the pitch, there was a more exciting contest between supporters from both sides in the stands.

Thousands of fans were guided by 'Ultras White Knights' to stage a Nou Camp-like display in Zamalek sections, which were turned to one huge white flag with the traditional two red stripes as their team took the field.

'Ultras Ahlawy,' on the other hand, waved a giant banner reading "Ahli is Egypt," with drawings of the club logo alongside the Pyramids, river Nile and other symbolic Egyptian figures.

Attempts to organize supporters and establish fan clubs were launched a few years ago "to improve the way we support our team and give it a bit of style," says Mohamed Sadeq, an active member of the Ultras White Knights.

Sadeq told FilGoal.com that he and his group read a lot about Ultras worldwide and try to imitate the European and Latin style as they cheer for 11-time Egyptian champions Zamalek.

They attend all the home games in the east stand of the Cairo International Stadium, wearing their white shirts and chanting supporting slogans for the team throughout the match regardless the score line.

But this is only one article of the unwritten code of Ultras, who first appeared in Italy during the 60s.

Provoking Policy

Ultras were created when European clubs decided to reduce ticket prices in particular sections of the stands, according to a Wikipedia entry.

This policy paved the road for more enthusiastic youth to attend games and form their own groups.

They never sit down during games and their chants never stop even if their team are down.

Ultras also try to attend majority of the away games to provide support and provoke opposing fans.

Fan groups use mixed styles in cheering, including huge banners, waving scarves, special chants whether in support to their team or to mock competitors.

Fears have been rife that Egyptian Ultras resort to violence as emotions are always running high between Ahli and Zamalek fans, especially with the word ‘Ultras’ often relating to Hooliganism.

Ahli pride

"Violence is not on our agenda," Mohamed Mongi of Ultras Ahlawy told FilGoal.com.

"We aren't imitating what happens in Europe rather than taking what suits our culture and society."

Although Sadeq shares the same sentiment, a banner lofted by 'Ultras White Knights' during a basketball game with Ahli triggered waves of violence between supporters.

The banner pictured Ahli center Tareq Al-Ghannam as a backside-exposed dwarf humiliatingly held by Zamalek’s center Samir Gouda.

The Red fans were irritated and smashed chairs and other equipment in Zamalek's court, with clashes between supporters taking places outside the club after the game.

Official support

Ultras usually get official support from European clubs' owners or board of directors, who provide them with cheaper tickets and earlier access to the stands to prepare their displays and pack their usual sections.

Some clubs provide Ultras with places to store banners and flags, or give them booths to sell their own merchandise on match days.

But Egyptian Ultras have yet to establish such a relationship with their clubs.

Ultras Ahlawy held black banners criticizing their club's administration for selling most tickets of the friendly against Barcelona to the match sponsors, leaving tens of thousands of fans struggling for access to the game.

The club officials prompted security forces to remove the banners to avoid spreading anger among fans.

Ultras White Knights' ongoing campaign against Ahmed Shobier, deputy chairman of the Egyptian Football Association, during Zamalek’s games is allegedly powered by officials at the club.

Shobier, a prominent PM and former Ahli captain, told Egyptian T

Zamalek Ahli fans

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