Pitso Mosimane leads Ahly in his first training session on Friday (Photo: the club's official website)
Ahly's South African coach Pitso Mosimane believes that participation in the FIFA Club World Cup will be a difficult challenge for the team as football has become completely different in Asia and around the world.
The Cairo giants booked their place in the FIFA Club World Cup as representatives of Africa after snatching the CAF Champions League title by beating Zamalek 2-1 in the final game.
"The participation in the FIFA Club World Cup is a difficult challenge as the last time Ahly went to the tournament was in 2013 but football in Asia has fully changed it's not now as how it was in the past," Mosimane told Ahly's TV channel late on Friday.
"I went there with my former team Mamelodi Sundowns three years ago and played against a Japanese team and I think we lost 3-0, they were a very big team," said Mosimane. "We also played against a team from South Korea and they defeated us 4-1, the games were very difficult so Asian football is no longer the same as we once knew it in the past."
"Their Football completely changed as they invested a lot of money in the players. They bring good players like Iniesta, Sante Kazola and Chavi Hernandez, so football changed," the Ahly coach said.
"FIFA Club World Cup is very difficult as there is also European teams like Bayern Munich so we have to prepare a special way of dealing with the tournament," he added.
"We also need to bring one or two special players. I don't say that we don't have special players in Ahly but the World Cup will be a big challenge for us," said Mosimane.
The 56-year-old was appointed in October, succeeding Swiss coach Rene Weiler who implied that he was homesick. Mosimane took over with the team already crowned league champions, leading them two two further titles -- the Champions League and Egypt Cup.
Mosimane became only the third coach to win the Champions League with two teams after Argentinian Oscar Fullone and Egyptian Mahmoud El-Gohary, having grasped it while in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 with another final victory over Zamalek.