- Al Ahly face hosts Al Duhail of their Qatar 2020 opener
- Coach Pitso Mosimane hails Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy
- He discusses a possible showdown towards Bayern Munich
Egypt’s Al Ahly Sporting Club are again on the FIFA Club World Cup after a seven-12 months absence. The Red Devils are aiming to go so far as they can in a event wherein they’ve beforehand struggled to make an affect.
The reigning African champions discovered who they might be going through when the event draw was made at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on 19 January. Pitted towards host crew Al Duhail Sports Club within the second spherical, the Egyptians have their sights set on a gathering with German giants Bayern Munich within the semi-finals.
“Al Duhail are a good side,” Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane instructed FIFA.com. “They received the Stars League in Qatar, which could be very aggressive, with good sides like Al Sadd, who’re coached by Xavi and who’ve an ideal Algerian ahead too (Baghdad Bounedjah).
“Al Duhail received the Qatari league as a result of they’ve acquired some wonderful gamers who’ve proven what they can do. [Mario] Mandzukic performed for them till not too long ago too. Now that we know they’re our opponents, we’ll have a great take a look at them.
“We can’t select the opposition within the Club World Cup draw. We should be able to play who we’re drawn towards.
“Every crew and each coach believe they’ve the flexibility to win the trophy, however the truth is that it received’t be simple towards opponents of the calibre of Bayern Munich and the Copa Libertadores winners. You take a look at them and also you realise how big a job we’ve acquired.
“We’ve got excellent players and everyone speaks about Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy. That’s maybe because he got us to the Club World Cup with his goals, though he couldn’t have done it without his team-mates. He’s an Egypt international and we’re delighted to have a player of his quality and goalscoring ability. He’s a playmaker and helps us create space too.”
Mosimane was on responsibility on the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016, when he coached South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
“It was a tough tournament,” he recalled. “The first impediment we needed to overcome was the six-hour time distinction between the 2 international locations. Then there was the chilly winter climate in Osaka. To be sincere, our opponents dealt with it higher than we did.
“We misplaced 4-1 to Jeonbuk of Korea Republic and three-0 to Kashima Antlers of Japan. We simply needed to cope with it and we have been sorry we couldn’t give a greater account of ourselves and that we got here away goalless towards Kashima Antlers.
“It was our first Club World Cup experience and I think stage fright got the better of us. We didn’t do well and that just shows the level of competition here. I think TP Mazembe are the only African side to have reached the final [Raja Club Athletic of Morocco also made the final, in 2013], so it won’t be easy.”
Bayern dream, Mazembe inspiration
Every facet within the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 is dreaming of taking up the mighty Bayern, Al Ahly amongst them.
“If we beat Al Duhail, the event hosts, we’ll face Bayern Munich, which received’t be simple,” said Mosimane. “That mentioned, we received’t have something to lose if we get that far. We should be at our greatest and fly the flag for the continent, the nation and all of the followers, in order that they can be pleased with us. If we give it our all on the pitch and we lose, we can go away glad as a result of the extent is so excessive.
“We’re a good side and we believe we can do big things. We’ve got the Qatari team in our first match and then we’ll see what happens. We hope we get the chance to face Bayern. We’d be delighted to play them and it would be an honour for us. There wouldn’t be any pressure on us either, because they’re the team who beat Barcelona.”
“Al Ahly have played in the Club World Cup, but not with this generation of players,” mentioned Mosimane. “They did it when Mohamed Aboutrika was round however they couldn’t make the ultimate. It’s a special crew now, a special time, and it’s been seven years since they final took half within the Club World Cup.
“Every team has a chance. It’s 90 minutes and we can spring a surprise if we give it all we’ve got on matchday. Football is a wonderful sport in which the unexpected can happen and we should take inspiration from what TP Mazembe did.”
Turning his consideration to the opposite sides within the competitors, Mosimane mentioned: “Brazilian teams are always strong. I’ve seen a few Ulsan Hyundai games. They’re a good side as well. The standard’s going to be high.”
The Al Ahly coach is in little doubt concerning the significance of the FIFA Club World Cup: “I used to be right here with my teaching employees from the Sundowns and I keep in mind simply how robust the competitors is. It’s a FIFA event and by way of organisation you can’t examine it with another competitors. Everything is wonderful: the motels, the journey preparations, every little thing.
“Qatar is a superb nation too. When we performed in 2016, the crew from South America didn’t even make it to the ultimate.”
Wrapping things up, the Mosimane despatched a message to the Ahly followers: “Our supporters believe we’ve got a chance. They always back us and push us on and we’ll give our all for them.”