Ahly's boss Rene Weiler said on Thursday that the team's winger Ramadan Sobhi will not be available for his side's anticipated clash against Sundowns in the Champions League, adding he does not know when Sobhi will return.
Several reports had said that Sobhi would be available when Ahly host the South African side in Cairo on Saturday, but the Swiss coach has confirmed his absence.
The classy winger, who renewed his loan to Ahly for another season from championship side Huddersfield last summer, has been out action since mid-December after sustaining a hamstring injury during Ahly training.
Ahly have announced that the 23-year-old needs around six weeks of treatment to recover from his injury, fixing the first of February as a date for his return.
With the player's absence continued, Ahly's football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz confirmed earlier this month that the player will be ready on 13 February.
"Sobhi is out of the Sundowns clash," Ahly's coach Rene Weiler told the pre-match news conference on Thursday. "He suffers from a muscle problem and I don't know when he will return."
"We are upset over his absence, but he suffers from a difficult injury and we can't fix a date for his return," he added.
The Swiss coach admitted that Saturday's clash will be tough for both sides, denying any negative impacts on his players due to their heavy loss to the South African side last year.
Ahly lost 0-5 to Sundowns in the first leg of the same round in Pretoria last year before claiming a narrow 1-0 win in Egypt to exit the continental competition from the quarter-finals.
"I don’t like dwelling on the past," Weiler said.
"The game will be tough. Sundowns is a good team that won the Champions League in 2016 and won the domestic league several times. This kind of game needs different preparations and we are ready for this game physically and mentally.
Weiler stressed that first leg will not be decisive as the team will head to Pretoria for the second leg one week later.
"The knockout stage needs the team to concentrate in the two legs. The game in Cairo will not be decisive. There will be another game in Pretoria. We need to concentrate in both games.
"My players are experienced and I am sure that they will be capable of easing any pressure. The most important thing for me is to follow the coach's instructions during the game.''
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