Soccer-'Angry face' emoji protest irks Egyptian club Zamalek's president

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Egyptian Cup Final - Smouha v Zamalek - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - May 15, 2018 Zamalek president Mortada Mansour celebrates after winning the Egyptian Cup REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

(Reuters) - Egyptian club Zamalek's president has threatened to ban a group of supporters who arranged themselves in the shape of a giant "angry face" emoji in an eye-catching protest during their African Champions League match against Sudan's Al-Merreikh.

Zamalek, the Egyptian champions, were already out of the continental competition before kick off, and their supporters decided to use the final group game to register their displeasure at the team's third consecutive group stage exit.

Dressed all in black instead of their usual white, about 150 Zamalek fans sat in formation through their team's 4-3 win at Cairo International Stadium on Friday, with about 30 of them forming the emoji's unsmiling "mouth".

"Zamalek wears white with two red lines. Whoever wants to support us is welcome, but not in black," Zamalek president Mortada Mansour told reporters.

"Those who went to the Al-Merreikh match in black will not be allowed to attend again."

Zamalek, who a week ago sacked Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira for the second time in two months, having briefly dismissed him in January, are fifth in the Egyptian league, 11 points behind rivals Al-Ahly, who have two games in hand.

Mansour, fresh from serving a one-month prison sentence over a defamation case against Al-Ahly president Mahmoud El Khatib, added that Zamalek had reached an agreement with a foreign coach that would be announced "within days".

(Reporting by Osama Khairy; Editing by Simon Jennings and Hugh Lawson)

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