Egyptian giants Al Ahly kick-off the inaugural African Football League (AFL) edition away to Tanzania’s Simba in Dar Es Salaam on October 20th.
Mohamed El Shenawy will lead the Cairo “Red Devils” when they go to the pitch, hoping to be on the podium once again when the curtain falls on November 11th, as he has done before in numerous times.
A product of Al Ahly youth, El Shenawy played his first game with Al Ahly seniors in 2007. He left the club for a few other sides before making an emotional comeback to his home team in 2016. And has captained the famous Reds of Cairo since 2020.
“Al Ahly is the biggest club in Africa, so taking place in such tournament means a lot to the club,” El Shenawy told AFL.Africa. “We are supported by millions of fans inside and outside Egypt, so it has always been a huge responsibility to represent such a great club”.
Asked about his most favourite memory with Al Ahly, he replied “Winning numerous CAF Champions League titles while playing for Al Ahly has been my best memory with the club, especially when we won the Champions League back in 2020. In the final we faced our traditional Cairo rivals Zamalek, and that’s why it was a very important game for us and especially for the fans who called it “Final of the Century”.
As Al Ahly skipper, El Shenawy lifted a handful of titles, including three CAF Champions League one.. “Al Ahly always plays to win, no matter what the game or the tournament is,” he added. “That’s what sets us apart from any other team”.
Last season, Al Ahly won five trophies, including the CAF Champions League for a record 11th time, yet El Shenawy sees that not enough. “The next day, our supporters started asking us to win more and more games and to bring home the next trophy”, he explained.
Playing in the first edition of AFL means a lot to El Shenawy and his teammates. “It’s a new tournament and this makes us feel excited about it. We want to win as always, and we want to be the African Football League first edition champions”, Egypt’s first choice goalkeeper confirmed.
Looking at his side’s opener against Simba, Al Ahly skipper said: “We respect all our opponents, and we know well how football is developed in Africa. We look at all teams the same way, and our target is to win every game no matter who our opponents”.
“My message to our supporters is to stand united behind the team. We need you to write new history for our club as we always do together,” El Shenawy concluded.