Preview: Treble winners Ahly out to start season with a bang

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Dec 2020

Ahly open the defence of their Egyptian Premier League title against Maqassa on Sunday

Ahly's Mohamed El-Shennawi celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the African Champions League final (Reuters)

Ahly, who won a remarkable treble last season, are out to ensure there will be no let-up on their competitors as they kick off their Egyptian Premier League campaign against Maqassa on Sunday.

The Red Devils will be looking to send out an early warning to the likes of Cairo rivals Zamalek and big-spending Pyramids FC, who finished second and third respectively last season, as they chase a sixth consecutive league title.

Ahly enjoyed a dream campaign last term after winning their third treble in history, which included a dramatic victory over Zamalek in the African Champions League final.

They are keeping their feet on the ground but are still determined to continue from where they left off last season.

"The competition in the domestic league will be very tough as many clubs have made good signings during the transfer window," said Ahly's veteran winger Walid Soliman, who was one of the team's standout performers last term.

"But we will win the domestic league; it is so difficult for Ahly to lose titles. We have a motivation that keeps us apart from other sides."

Ahly made several signings in the close season, bringing in the likes of Arab Contractors winger Taher Mohamed Taher and Moroccan defender Badr Benoun.

South African coach Pitso Mosimane is likely to rely on Benoun as one of his regular central defenders along with Ayman Ashraf. Benoun has already featured in the Egypt Cup last season.

Maqassa, who are looking to improve on their ninth-place finish, brought back coach Ihab Galal for a third stint.

The team enjoyed their best ever season under Galal in 2016/17, finishing second in the table behind Ahly to earn a spot in the African Champions League.

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