Jol says fatigue factor kicks in as Ahly prepare for crucial African clash

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 10 Aug 2016

Ahly coach speaks about recent loss to Zamalek, reveals his worries ahead of Friday's crucial African Champions League clash against ZESCO

Martin Jol
Martin Jol (Photo: Ahly's official Facebook page)

Ahly's Dutch coach Martin Jol is worried over the fatigue factor as his wounded side, who lost to arch rivals Zamalek in the Egypt Cup final on Monday, prepare for a crucial African Champions League against Zambia's ZESCO United on Friday.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss also insisted his side would not be affected by the 3-1 loss to Zamalek which prevented them from claiming the domestic double.

"The defeat by Zamalek will not have any negative impact when we play against ZESCO United," Jol told reporters on Wednesday.

"I talked with my players and asked them to forget about the Cup defeat. Ahly is a big team with experienced players who should focus on every tournament and set aside any stumble."

Ahly's defeat against Zamalek was the second straight season they lose to their nemesis in the cup final. They have not won the secondary domestic competition since 2007.

Jol, who took charge of Ahly last February, has recently come under fire after some poor performances by the Cairo giants, who are already struggling to cope with some major absences, especially following moves by Ramadan Sobhi to Stoke City and Malick Evouna to China's Tianjin Teda.

He was given a vote of confidence by the club on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen whether they will keep faith with him if the record eight-time winners fail to make it to the Champions League semis.

Ahly revived their hopes of advancing to the last eight after claiming a 1-0 victory at Morocco's Wydad Casablanca last month, their first in Group A after two losses and a draw.

They lie third in the group with four points, on level with Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas and three short of joint leaders Wydad and ZESCO with two matches remaining.

"What makes me worried ahead of ZESCO match is the fatigue we are suffering from, as we played four crucial matches in 12 days; the thing that doesn’t exist all over the world," Jol added.

According to the club's doctor, Ahly defender Saad Samir will be fit for the ZESCO match despite suffering a facial injury in the Cairo derby.

Teammate Ahmed Hegazy, who picked  up a muscular injury against Wydad, is yet to undergo a medical scan to determine his availability for Friday's match.

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