Al Ahly's triumph shines light on tragic day for Egypt

Egypt's Al-Ahly team pose with the African Champions League trophy after winning 2-1 against Esperance de Tunis.

Story highlights

  • Egyptian team Al Ahly wins African Champions League title for seventh time
  • Fans torn between celebrations and grief after more than 50 children die in crash
  • Ahly star dedicates Saturday's win to 74 fans who died at Port Said in February
  • Egyptian league has been suspended since then due to security fears

While Egypt's leaders try to broker peace in the Israel-Hamas conflict, one of its sports teams has completed a remarkable triumph on a day of nationwide mourning.

Egypt's leading soccer club Al Ahly won the African Champions League title for a record-extending seventh time on Saturday, despite its domestic league having been suspended for nine months following the death of 74 fans in the Port Said stadium tragedy.

However, before Saturday's match took place in Tunisia, 51 Egyptian children died when their school bus was hit by a train.

"Happy that Egypt got one good news today #ahly but can't help crying over those kids. Celebrate but consider those mourning," one man wrote on Twitter.

Another wrote: "When we have our revenge for my 74 brothers who died for #Ahly only then I'd celebrate the great victory, till then I'll keep it in my heart."

Read: Ultras seek justice for fan deaths

Ahly star Abdallah El-Saied dedicated the win to the victims of the February 1 riot, which happened during his team's match at Al Masry.

"We wanted this trophy so much to offer it to the families and the souls of the Port Said martyrs," El-Saied said in quotes reported by the Ahram Online website after Ahly beat defending champions Esperance 2-1 in Tunis for a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The first leg two weeks ago was played at a military facility near Alexandria rather than at Ahly's home ground in Cairo due to security fears.

The club's militant fans, known as "ultras," have threatened to cause problems unless action is taken against the perpetrators of the Port Said violence. A government investigation is ongoing.

"Mass celebrations across downtown #Cairo, complete with horizontal fireworks," tweeted Cairo-based journalist Bel Tew.

Another Twitter user wrote: "To all of you celebrating #Ahly 's win. What the hell is wrong with you ppl? Timing? Priorities? Grief? Mourning?"

Another added: "Today is a really awful day for #Egypt, yes #Ahly made it better but it's still awful."

The victory earned Al Ahly a place at next month's FIFA Club World Cup, where the team will play either New Zealand's Auckland City or the champions of host nation Japan in the quarterfinals.

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