Al Ahly, Egypt’s top soccer team and one of Africa’s most successful clubs, left Malian capital Bamako on Thursday after being stranded there for days because of fighting on the city streets which blocked their way to the airport.
The team, who lost Sunday’s match 1-0 to Stade Malien in the African Champions League, were picked up by an Egyptian military plane after Malian authorities gave it permission to land.
The airport itself has been closed since fighting erupted on Monday in a bid to reverse a March 22 coup.
“The flight from Bamako to Cairo will take 16 hours and will stop in the Nigerian capital Abuja,” Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted Al Ahly board member Khaled Derndaly as saying.
The team was taken to the airport accompanied by Malian soldiers armed with machine guns.