Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef thanked his team players, despite placing in the tail of the Club World Cup teams, convinced that the suspension of domestic football in Egypt has taken its toll on the players' performance as evidenced in the tournament.
Cairo giants Ahly suffered a shock 5-1 defeat by Mexico's Monterrey three days after losing their first game 2-0 to China's Guangzhou.
"The players are the big loser in the Club World Cup due to the unusual circumstances in Egypt, as domestic football has been suspended for two years," Youssef was quoted as saying on the club's official website.
Ahly had to do without several key players during Monterrey's game due to injuries, including talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika -- who is likely to formally announce his retirement this week -- and winger Sayed Moawwad, who left the tournament before it began.
"We suffered from the absence of five to six key players during the game because of injuries," the tactician said, concluding that "We won two African Champions league titles despite the suspension of domestic football, so fans should forgive the players for the Club World Cup dip."
The African champions' crew will arrive in Cairo on Thursday night after finishing participation in the Club World Cup in Morocco.
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