Buoyant following an eighth successive Premier League title, Ahly continue their bid to become the first Egyptian side to win the African Confederation Cup against Sewe Sport in Cairo on Saturday where a victory would put them on the brink of a semi-final spot.
The Red Devils wrapped up what now looks more of a customary league triumph early this month to add to their trophy-laden cabinet, which nevertheless still lacks the Confederation Cup trophy.
Africa’s secondary club competition has eluded Egyptian clubs in its old and new formats but Ahly, record winners of the elite Champions League with eight titles under their belt, look firm favourites to clinch the title this time around.
A win at home to Ivory Coast’s Sewe Sport in a match that will take place behind closed doors at the army-owned Air Defence Stadium will see Ahly move five points clear of third-placed Sewe Sport with two matches remaining.
The Cairo giants are on top with five points, ahead of second-placed Etoile Sahel of Tunisia on goal difference, followed by Sewe Sport (three points) and Zambia’s Nkana (one point).
Ahly are boosted by four new players who were registered in their African roster after joining in the summer, including skipper Hossam Ghaly, who returned to the club after a brief stint with Belgium’s Lierse, and 17-year-old playmaker Ramadan Sobhi who has produced some eye-catching displays recently.
Spanish coach Carlos Garrido will lead Ahly for the first time in a continental competition after his first genuine test saw the team exit the Egypt Cup following a defeat by Alexandria-based club Smouha.
Garrido replaced interim coach Fathi Mabrouk, under whom the club were crowned Egyptian champions for an eighth straight year.
Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw at Sewe Sport in their previous game, with Burkina Faso international Moussa Yedan giving them a first-half lead before the hosts secured a share of spoils with a late strike from Kouame Akrofi Edem.
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