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04.04.2007 10:25

Egypt excited by Barça visit

The presidents of Al-Ahly and FC Barcelona have signed an agreement to cement the arrangements for the friendly match between the two teams in April after a group from the Blaugrana club travelled to Cairo.

Barça will meet the Egyptian club on April 24 as part of the host club's centenary celebrations after the deal was sealed on Tuesday afternoon. Al-Ahly are celebrating 100 years of existence after the were formed in 1907.

President Joan Laporta, director Albert Perrin and technical secretary Txiki Begiristain travelled to the capital of Egypt and showed their excitement about the forthcoming fixture upon their arrivals. The agreement to stage the match was signed by the presidents of both clubs in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo with over 200 journalists present.

"More that a game"

The Al-Ahly president, Hassan Hamdy, and Laporta both appeared delighted and Egyptian stated that it was an "honour" that Barça have agreed to participate in the game. He added that although his club are a power in Africa, they are not at the top of the world game like FC Barcelona.

Laporta returned the compliments as he said that he felt that the game "would be more than a match, as it would be between two clubs with a strong and proud history behind them".

The game will also as a tool to deepen the alliance between the two clubs on a marketing front and for young footballers, who will play against and experience life at the other club when, as mentioned in the agreement, an academy is set up.

Old favourites

Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona and Romario are the famous names from Barça's past that have drawn great interest in the club from Africa, while from the current squad, such stars as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Leo Messi, Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta are teh favourites.

Viewing the facilities

The Al-Ahly delegation showed their Barça counterparts around the club's facilities on Tuesday. The Al-Ahly Heliopolis comprises swimming pools, tennis courts and small-sided football pitches. There is everything needed for the best possible preparation for all sections of the club. The majority of Egyptian clubs are represented in many different sports, although it is footbal that remains the most popular.
Egypt excited by Barça visit
Previous meeting
Al-Ahly and FC Barcelona have already met in Ciaro before as the two clubs played a friendly on April 7, 1961. The Catalan team won 6-1 that day thanks to goals from Villaverde (2), Evaristo, Vergés, Garay and Kocsis.

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