Ahly still own their destiny in Champions league; expect a tough local race: Coach Carteron

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Tuesday 17 Jul 2018

Patrice Carteron (Photo: Al-Ahly official website)

Ahly's new coach Patrice Carteron said he believes that the Red Devils still have a chance to revive their hopes at the African Champions League, just hours before they face Township Rollers of Botswana.

The Cairo giants will host the Botswanian side on Tuesday evening in Alexandria in the third round of the prestigious African tournament; the first game for Ahly under the guidance of Frenchman Carteron, who replaced Hossam El-Badry as Ahly's new manager last month.

"We went on a preparatory camp [for the match] in Europe, but it was a short one," Carteron said in an interview with France Football published on Tuesday.

El-Badry lost his post due to the team's poor results in the Champions League group stage, despite guiding the Red Devils to their 40th league title last season. 

Ahly have no choice but to win on Tuesday after they started their group stage campaign with a disappointing goalless draw at home with Esperance de Tunis, before slumping to a 2-0 loss to Uganda's Kampala City, thus slipping to the bottom of Group A with a solitary point from their opening two matches.

Esperance currently lead the group with six points, followed by Kampala and Township Rollers with three each.

"Clearly, we must achieve victory in the four remaining matches of the group stage. The goal is to finish in the first two and we still have all our cards in hand," said the 47-year old coach who won the CAF Champions League with Congolese side TP Mazembe in 2015.

"There was little time for preparations, but our two warm-up matches were beneficial at both the tactical and physical levels," he added.

Carteron, who terminated his contract with United States side Phoenix Rising before penning a two-year contract at Ahly, had previous experience in the Egyptian league in 2016 when he took charge of Wadi Degla.

The French coach also discussed how and why he decided to coach Ahly.

"I had a deal with [the Ivorian international legend] Didier Drogba; he wanted me to be his last coach at Phoenix Rising in the MLS. But, when he learned that I had this offer [from Ahly], he said: "Ahly can't be refused."

"I thank him. It's a difficult challenge but who would not want to lead Ahly? It's such a big club!"

"A new management team is being setting up, we are in a transitional phase in terms of operation but frankly, it is a very well structured club," he added.

Upon his appointment, Carteron highlighted he believes that Ahly rank among the world's greatest clubs, such as Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, stressing that he is eager to win titles with the eight-time African champions.

When asked about the Egyptian league title race especially with the potential competition expected from the new franchise Pyramids Carteron said: "Indeed, the club Assiouty Sport was bought by Turki El-Sheikh who brings extensive assets. Retaining the title will certainly be more difficult for us this season!"

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: