Pitso’s Ahly complete first treble in 13 years


Al Ahly completed a CAF Champions League-Egyptian Premier League-Egyptian FA Cup treble for the first time since 2007 with a nerve-wracking cup final victory over El Gaish at the weekend.

El Gaish scored in stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw, but record nine-time African champions Ahly won 3-2 on penalties in Alexandria to complete a memorable season.

Last weekend, Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy scored a late volleyed goal to give Ahly a 2-1 victory over Cairo neighbours and greatest rivals Zamalek in the Champions League final.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up the football news from Africa at the weekend.

Egypt

South Africa-born Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane has compared the treble winners with the great 2005-2008 squad that reached four consecutive Champions League finals, winning three.

Many consider that team, whose spine included goalkeeper Essam el Hadary, defender Wael Gomaa, midfielders Mohamed Abou Trika and Mohamed Barakat and forward Emad Moteab, the greatest ever.

“The current players are writing their names into the Ahly history books like the golden generation led by Mohamed Abou Trika and his teammates,” said Mosimane.

South Africa

Themba Zwane scored a chart-topping sixth goal in as many South African Premiership matches for leaders Mamelodi Sundowns as they drew 1-1 at bottom club Maritzburg United.

A Zwane tap-in gave the 2016 African champions a first-half lead, but a powerful Kwanda Mngonyama header on the hour earned Maritzburg a first point this season after five losses.

It was an encouraging debut for German coach Ernst Middendorp in his third spell with Maritzburg after quitting Ethiopian club Saint George just one month into a three-year contract.

Morocco

Casablanca giants Wydad and Raja won and drew respectively as the 2021 Moroccan Botola Pro 1 season kicked off with eight matches producing 25 goals.

Three-time African champions Raja came from two goals behind to lead at FUS Rabat before Naoufel Zerhouni equalised 18 minutes from time for the hosts in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

An own-goal gave twice Champions League winners Wydad the lead at home to Youssoufia Berrechid and Yahia Attiyat Allah added a second after 77 minutes.

Ghana

Serb Kosta Papic has pleaded for patience from disgruntled Hearts of Oak supporters after succeeding sacked Edward Odoom as coach of the famed Ghanaian club.

The 2000 CAF Champions League and 2004 CAF Confederation Cup winners lie 16th of 18 clubs in the Ghana Premier League after two draws and a defeat.

“I did not have a pre-season with the club and barely know the players so please give me some time,” said Papic, whose previous clubs include Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in South Africa.

Tunisia

Defending Tunisian Ligue 1 Professionnelle champions Esperance had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at home against promoted Slimane in the opening round of the season.

Ivorian Fousseny Coulibaly spared the blushes of the Blood and Gold with an 84th-minute equaliser after the newcomers had scored twice in six minutes midway through the second half.

Esperance have been Tunisian champions a record 30 times and form the ‘big four’ in the country with Club Africain, Etoile Sahel and 2020 runners-up CS Sfaxien.

Source: News24



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Human rights activists criticise Egyptian president’s state visit to France


Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is in France for talks on terrorism, the Libyan conflict and other regional issues amid heavy criticism over the Egyptian leader’s crackdown on dissent.

The Egyptian head of state has overseen a large crackdown on critics, jailing thousands of Islamists along with pro-democracy activists.

Over 20 human rights groups denounced France’s strategic partnership with Egypt as the country “is abusively using counter-terrorist legislation to eradicate the legitimate work in favour of human rights and suppress all peaceful dissent in the country.” They called for a demonstration on Tuesday near the National Assembly in Paris.

El-Sissi has said that his tough rule has ensured stability, pointing to war and destruction in Syria, Yemen and Libya as the alternative.

At a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, el-Sissi said: “You cannot present the state of Egypt, with all that it has done for its people and for stability in the region, with it being a dictatorship.”

He said that religious values were more important than human values.

Macron said he had discussed the question of human rights with the Egyptian leader.

French authorities see Egypt as a key country in efforts to stabilise the troubled region, and Macron has warned that in the absence of Western support, Egypt could turn to the West’s authoritarian rivals China and Russia.



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Egyptian court extends activist’s detention


CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court extended the detention of an activist and researcher who previously worked for one of the country’s most prominent rights groups, the group said on Monday.

Patrick George Zaki, 28, a human rights advocate and student at the University of Bologna in Italy, was detained after landing in Cairo on Feb. 7 for a brief trip home in February. Since his arrest, he has been jailed pending an investigation into accusations of spreading fake news and calling for unauthorized protests.

Zaki worked as a gender rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, or EIPR, which provides him legal representation.

A court in Cairo handling terror-related cases renewed Zaki’s detention for more 45 days, the group said. He appeared in court on Sunday along with about 700 other people arrested in various cases. All but one have had their detention extended, the EIPR said.

Zaki and his lawyer called for his immediate release, arguing that there were “no grounds” for his continued detention.

Following his arrest, Zaki had told his lawyers he was tortured with electric shocks, beaten and blindfolded during interrogations about his activism, according to the EIPR.

However, Egypt’s top prosecutor denied the torture allegations, saying Zaki made no report about being “harmed or violated during his arrest or detention” when he spoke to the public prosecution on Feb. 8, the day after his arrest.

The decision to extend Zaki’s detention came authorities last week freed three EPIR’s senior staff members, including the group’s its executive director, Gasser Abdel-Razek. The three were arrested last month and slapped with terrorism-related charges following their meeting with Western diplomats to discuss to discuss the human rights situation in Egypt.

After their release, Abdel-Razek, along with EIPR’s criminal justice director Karim Ennarah and administrative director Mohammed Basheer, authorities froze their assets, a measure upheld by a court on Sunday.

Egypt’s latest crackdown against EIPR has raised alarm in many parts of the world, with international rights groups urging the international community, particularly Western governments, to pressure Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government to ease its clampdown on dissent and rights advocates.

Under el-Sissi, Egypt has seen the heaviest crackdown on dissent in its modern history. Officials have targeted not only Islamist political opponents but also pro-democracy activists, journalists and online critics.



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Ancient Egyptian coffins, statues dating back 2,500 years found in Saqqara


Egyptian antiquities officials have announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.

Colourful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.

Archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth inside.

They also carried out x-rays visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told a news conference the discovered items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years — from around 320 BC to about 30 BC — and the Late Period (664-332 BC).

The discovery at the famed necropolis is the latest in a series of archaeological finds in Egypt.(AP: Nariman El-Mofty)

He said they would move the artifacts to at least three Cairo museums including the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building.

He said they would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year.

The discovery is the latest in a series of archaeological finds in Egypt.

Since September, antiquities authorities have revealed at least 140 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara.

Egyptian archaeologists found other “shafts full of coffins, well-gilded, well-painted, well-decorated,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters on Saturday (local time).

a very large number of sarcophagi laide out on the floor. In the far background is an Egyptian pyramid.
Officials say they will announce another discovery later this year.(AP: Nariman El-Mofty)

The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the famed Giza pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh.

The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1970s.

Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in the hope of boosting a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil left in the wake of the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

The coronavirus pandemic this year dealt the sector a further blow.

AP



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The life and tragic death of Egyptian LGBT activist Sarah Hegazi – Channel 4 News


It’s been nearly a decade since thousands of Egyptians took the streets in Tahrir Square and toppled the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Yet for the last seven years, under President Sisi’s rule – once again journalists and activists face persecution and arrest.

The story of Egypt – of hope and promise giving way to oppression and fear – was brought into sharp focus with the death of one prominent LGBT activist.

Kiran Moodley has been looking at the life of Sarah Hegazi – and the tragedy that followed from one simple photo.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this report, you can find a range of places which offer help at channel4.com/support



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