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Preview: Egypt's Ahly seek consolation in African Confederation Cup

Ahly bid to become the first Egyptian side to win the African Confederation Cup as they open their campaign at home to Morocco's Difaa Jadida on Sunday

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Apr 2014
Ahly lost to Libya's Ahly Benghazi in the African Champions League round of 16 (Photo: Ahram)

Ahly, Africa's most successful club, will not be able to defend the Champions League title that they won the past two seasons but they still have room for consolation in the continent's secondary club competition.

The Red Devils will bid to become the first Egyptian side to win the Confederation Cup when they host Morocco's Difaa Jadida in the first leg of the competition's round of 16 on Sunday.

The Confederation Cup has eluded Egyptian clubs since it was introduced in 2004 by merging the African Cup Winners' Cup and the CAF Cup in a single competition.  

"We have to do our best to win this competition," Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef said in an interview with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) website.

"Losing the Champions League title was a shock for us, but we have to recover and keep going. The game against Difaa Jadida will be extremely tough, but we'll do our best to win."

Ahly were eliminated from the Champions League following a shock 4-2 aggregate defeat by Libya's Ahly Benghazi in the last 16 as they embark on a rebuilding process following the retirement of veterans Mohamed Abou-Treika and Mohamed Barakat.

Their previous Confederation Cup appearance was brief.

In a similar situation, they were knocked out of the Champions League at the hands of Nigeria's Kano Pillars in 2009 before losing to Angolan side Santos on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate draw in the Confederation Cup.

"Difaa is a very good team and they gave talented strikers, but we know well how to face them. Winning our last three games in the league gave us some confidence and we’ll build on that this Sunday," Youssef added.

Ahly will have to do without several key players. Right-back Ahmed Fathi, defensive midfielder Hossam Ashour and promising striker Amr Gamal are all ruled out through suspension.

Long-term absentees Walid Soliman and Sherif Abdel-Fadil are also out while veteran left-back Sayed Moawad will miss the game after a row with coach Youssef.

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