Preview: Mosimane-less Ahly eye Niger after Mahalla

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 17 Dec 2020

Ahly will face Mahalla with an eye on the difficult trip to Niger

Ahly players (
Ahly players (

Egyptian Premier League title holders Ahly are set to face newcomers Ghazl El-Mahalla in the second matchday of the domestic competition on Friday at the Red Devils' stadium with the absence of South African coach Pitso Mosimane, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Ahly will be looking to claim the three points of the game against Mahalla to cement their place in the driving seat of the Egyptian Premier League teams' table as well as sending out an early warning to the likes of their rivals that the team won't give up chasing a sixth consecutive league title.

The Cairo giants kicked off their Egyptian Premier League campaign by beating Maqassa 3-1 on Sunday, while Mahalla held to a 1-1 draw with Smouha.

The Red Devils will take on Mahalla with high expectations after enjoying a dream campaign last term by winning their third treble in history, including the Egyptian Premier League title, CAF Champions League and Egypt's Cup trophy.

The 56-year-old coach Mosimane, who joined Ahly in October coming from South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, will miss the game against Mahalla after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Mosimane is isolated in a hospital receiving coronavirus treatment, read a statement on Ahly's website.

Ahly will face Mahalla with an eye on the difficult trip to Niger when they face AS SONIDEP in the first leg of the CAF Champions League’s second preliminary round on 23 December.

"It's difficult for Mosimane to travel with the team to Niger to face AS SONIDEP. Anything is possible, but he is confirmed to be out of the Mahalla clash," head of Ahly's Medical Commission Mohamed Shawki said on TV.

Ghazl El-Mahalla, one of seven clubs to have won the Premier League, returned to the elite competition after a four-year absence as they started their mission with a 1-1 draw with Smouha.

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