Egyptian inconsistent side Haras El-Hodoud is looking to avoid any unlikely upsets when they host DR Congo’s Motema Pembe in the first leg of the African Confederation Cup round third round on Sunday.
El-Hodoud will play the game at Military Academy Stadium in Cairo instead of their usual venue in Alexandria.
“We are eager to get a positive result in Cairo as the mission will be tough for the players in Congo due to the different climate and the long travelling distance,” El-Hodoud coach Tarek El-Ashri was quoted as saying on the Confederation of African football (CAF) official website.
“We will play to get a commanding lead that we will take into the return leg and hopefully that will be good enough to see us through.”
El-Hodoud are seemingly still suffering the ill-effects of a long football break due to the popular Egyptian uprising. They lost to Zamalek and drew with struggling outfit Smouha in their first two matches following the competition’s resumption.
However, El-Ashri remains confident his side will be fully ready for the African game, which will be officiated by Ethiopian referee Bamlak Weyesa Tessema.
“The team is ready to play the Congolese side, as we prepared well by facing Zamalek and Smouha in the League,” explained the promising coach, who led El-Hodoud to two Egyptian Cup triumphs in 2009 and 2010.
El-Hodoud will be missing some key players such as captain Muhammad Halim, defender Ahmed Said “Oka” and striker Ahmed Salama due to injuries, but El-Ashri has no plans to change his strategy.
“I will not change my plan. We have always played the same 4-4-2 formation since I took charge of the team,” he concluded.
El-Hodoud have failed to get beyond the Confederation Cup group stage during the past three seasons.