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Preview: record-African champions Ahly open CL campaign against debutants Bidvest Wits

Ahly host South Africa's Bidvest Wits on Saturday at 18:30 CLT

Omar Zaazou , Friday 10 Mar 2017
Ahly
A file photo of Ahly (Photo: Reuters)
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Eight-time African champions Ahly will open their CAF Champions League campaign against debutant South Africans Bidvest Wits in the competition’s round of 32 at Cairo’s El-Salam Stadium on Saturday.

Bidding to win their first Champions League since 2013, Egyptian league holders Ahly will be hoping to add a ninth title to their trophy-laden cabinet this time around.    

Ahly should have an easy mission against their South African opponents, who make their maiden Champions League appearance against the decorated Cairo giants.

Bidvest, nicknamed The Clever Boys, have a modest African record, with their sole three continental appearances coming in the Confederation Cup - where their best achievement was reaching the first round twice.

Even so, they will be determined to put their unimpressive record behind their backs when they meet the Ahly away from home, where they are going to play ‘a normal game’ on Saturday.

“We are going there to play our normal game. We saw what PSG did against Barcelona and we won't do that mistake of sitting back,” Bidvest Wits forward Thabang Monare told KickOff.com on Thursday.

"We are not scared of them (Ahly), but we respect them as one of the biggest teams in Africa.

"We are going there aware that we should be on our toes if we hope for a good result."  

Ahly, on the other side, will be looking to make the most of their fans’ presence at El-Salam Stadium, after a limited number of 5000 supporters were allowed to attend the game.

Manager Hossam El-Badry, who led Ahly to the Champions League title in 2012, decided to prepare for the round of 32 clash with all his African squad – leaving no players out of the first-leg tie.

The return leg takes place on March 17.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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