Ahly goalkeeper and captain Sherif Ekramy has said that the club’s current generation of players is technically not as outstanding as previous ones.
“We always encounter tough conditions in Africa. However, we represent Ahly and we have to achieve our goals after all,” Ekramy told an Egyptian TV station.
The Cairo giants have booked a spot in the group stage of the CAF Champions League on Sunday despite their round of 32 second leg 0-1 loss to Ethiopia's Jimma Aba Jifar.
Under their caretaker manager Mohamed Youssef, the team managed to qualify for the next stage of the African flagship competition after winning 2-1 on aggregate.
“Our target was to qualify for the group stage and we did,” the 35-year-old goalkeeper said.
Despite Ahly’s four straight domestic wins, many see that the team has been under-performing since a bitter Champions League final defeat against Tunisia's ES Esperance, a loss that contributed to the sacking of former French manager Patrice Carteron.
“Since losing the African final and exiting the Zayed Champions Cup, we have been definitely facing confidence issues. The league wins and the qualification to the Champions League group stage are helping us to gradually regain faith,” Ekramy added.
“This generation of players has won three league titles in a row and have qualified for two African finals in a row. However, it is not right to compare them to previous generations who were technically better,” he said.
“Ahly is always in need of players with strong and different personalities, and this is what the current group of players need to work on,” Ekramy concluded.
The club announced last week the appointment of Uruguayan tactician Martin Lasarte, who was introduced in a press conference and will officially lead the team in a few days.
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