JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jan 24 – The image of Egyptian football took a knock Wednesday five months before hosting the Africa Cup of Nations when Ismaily were kicked out of the CAF Champions League over crowd trouble.
CAF announced the expulsion in a letter and a tweet and the action stemmed from stone and bottle-throwing at a possible venue for Cup of Nations matches this June and July.
“Ismaily FC fans had been throwing stones and water bottles at the assistant referee and the opposing team (Club Africain from Tunisia),” CAF noted.
Egypt is no stranger to crowd trouble with at least 74 people, most supporters of hugely popular Cairo club Al Ahly, dying in clashes in Port Said seven years ago.
When original 2019 hosts Cameroon fell behind with preparations, Egypt defeated South Africa 16-1 with one abstention in a CAF executives vote this month to decide who took over as Cup of Nations hosts.
The referee was forced to abandon in stoppage time the match between Ismaily and Club Africain at the Ismailia Stadium on January 18 with the visitors leading 2-1.
Expelling the Egyptian club leaves leaders CS Constantine of Algeria, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Club Africain in Group C.
The last club to be kicked out of the Champions League at the group stage over crowd trouble was Etoile Sahel from Tunisia in 2012.