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Ahly coach confident ahead of 'tough' Etoile du Sahel showdown

Ahly also bolster their African squad with newly-signed quartet in wake of elimination of veterans Hossam Ghaly and Abdullah El-Said

Eslam Omar , Wednesday 5 Aug 2015
Ahly and Etoile du Sahel
Ahly and Etoile du Sahel (Al-Ahram)
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Ahly coach Fathi Mabrouk believes Saturday's match at Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel in the African Confederation Cup will be no doddle, thanks to the Cairo giants' hectic schedule.
 
"The match will be very tough but we are capable of winning," Mabrouk told the Cairo giants' official website on Wednesday.
 
Title holders Ahly are leading Group A with seven points, having defeated two Tunisian teams in Esperance and second-placed Etoile du Sahel, who boast six points, but were held by Stade Malien.
 
"Our hectic schedule adds pressure on players. It is very exhausting, mentally and physically," Mabrouk added.
 
Eyeing a ninth successive league trophy, Ahly lost the Egyptian Premier League title to their arch-rivals Zamalek, who won the domestic competition last week with an eight-point difference.
 
In the African Confederation Cup Zamalek are on top Group B, having picked up maximum points from three victories over South Africa's Orlano Pirates, Tunisian team Sfaxian and Congolese outfit Leopards. The Egyptian champions are taking on the latter team away on Sunday.
 
Quartet addition
 
Ahly have included their newly-signed Ghanaian striker Antwi Duku, Gabon striker Malick Evouna, Egyptian right winger Ahmed Fathi and midfielder Saleh Gomaa to their continental roster.
 
The quartet addition came in the wake of the elimination of experienced midfielders Hossam Ghaly and Abdullah El-Said. Ahly said the duo would be given a two-day rest from training, while football director Wael Gomaa decided to fine them.
 
A recent bust-up between Gomaa and the veteran pair is reportedly the main reason behind the decision to drop them.
 
"It was my decision to exclude Hossam Ghaly and Abdullah El-Said from the Tunisia trip," he said, adding that he's grateful to Ahly's board for supporting his call. 
 
The 64-year-old tactician has also heaped praise on the fans who attended the Reds' Tuesday training session to support them ahead of the Confederation Cup, and after their league disappointment.
 
"A big thank you to our faithful supporters, who have boosted the team in these hard circumstances," he concluded.

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