It’s normal for a club, especially one from the same country, to congratulate another on victory at a continental or global stage.
Not so for arch-rivals Ah Ahly SC and Zamalek SC of Egypt. The two giants of African football boast one of the longest-running and fierce football rivalries in the world.
But on Saturday, when Al Ahly bagged a record 10th Champions League title, five more than Zamalek, the White Knights uncharacteristically offered a congratulatory message.
Al Ahly SC, Africa’s club of the century hammered Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa 3-0 in the final played in Casablanca, Morocco to retain the trophy they won last year.
Kenyan midfielder Anthony Agay Akumu, who turns out for Chiefs, was part of the action.
“Zamalek congratulates Al Ahly after winning the African title on Kaizer Chiefs account,” Zamalek posted on their Facebook page.
But hours later, and in a bizarre turn of events after thousands of comments and shares, the same was recanted.
“The committee responsible for the management of Zamalek club announces its withdrawal of congratulations presented to Al Ahly club,” another statement, posted two hours later, read.
According to local media, Zamalek reversed their earlier statement after one of Al Ahly’s many official social media handles rudely replied to the congratulatory message.
In the reply, the handle commented, “we will meet you again to beat you like last time,” sparking heated exchanges that degenerated into racial insults targeted at Zamalek legend Shikabala, an Egyptian of dark complexion.
In a swift rejoinder, Al Ahly SC, whose manager is a South African, Pitso Mosimane, offered an apology and pledged to investigate the incident.