Coach Koller. Ahly Official Website
The Cairo giants will take on the New Zealand side on Wednesday at Ibn Batouta stadium in the tournament opener, with the winner qualifying to play the quarter finals against CONCACAF Champions, Seattle Sounders of USA, three days later.
“Club World Cup is a big tournament and a club like Ahly has big ambitions to reach the utmost point there,” Koller was quoted as saying by the club’s official website on Tuesday.
“We are fully concentrated on winning the opening match, but no one knows how the game will go.”
“Auckland City is a strong opponent and they had a preparatory camp for the tournament in Spain in which they did not lose to Barcelona [the friendly game ended with a 1-1 draw]. This proves their strength especially amid their excellent group of players so the game will not be such an easy one at all,” the 62-year-old coach added.
Ahly will make their third straight appearance in the seven-team tournament. They finished third in their previous two participations after winning back-to-back Champions League titles.
Koller stressed that he has no worries about his players’ readiness for the game especially as there no injured players in his squad.
“All players are ready for the game. Small details always make the difference in such important games and our players are confident of their ability to deliver a strong performance,” the coach explained.
“We set our strategy for every game according to the playing style of our opponent. We are able to take the upper hand in any game,” Koller concluded.
Ahly goalkeeper and skipper Mohamed El-Shennawi agreed with Koller on the readiness of the team, also stressing on Tuesday that the Reds are aiming to go further in this tournament than in previous years.
The Club World Cup will take place in Morocco from 1-11 February.
The Egyptian giants are taking part this time despite finishing as runners-up in the African Champions League last season, taking advantage of the selection of Morocco as the host country to qualify.
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