Ahly keeper El-Shennawi (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Ahly skipper Mohamed El-Shennawi hopes to reach the FIFA Club World Cup semis in order to meet Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer and then move on to win the trophy for the first time in the African continent's history.
The African Champions will play Qatari hosts Al-Duhail in the quarterfinals on Thursday at Education City stadium in Qatar, and the winner will face European Champions Bayern Munich in the semifinals.
“Playing for my country at the World Cup and then taking part at the Club World Cup is a major achievement for me,” El-Shennawi told FIFA’s official website.
The Ahly keeper has been one of the few shining beacons during the Pharaohs’ campaign and won the man of the match award in his maiden game against Uruguay despite the 1-0 defeat.
“They’re two competitions that every player dreams of taking part in. It’s an added responsibility for me. Playing at an international tournament like the Club World Cup takes a lot of determination and hard work. Al-Ahly, the players, and the coaching staff have all made a huge effort to be at this competition,” he added.
The 32-year-old international stressed that Al-Duhail is a special contest as they are a fellow Arab team and have a number of top-quality foreign players.
“We’ve got Al-Duhail first up, which will be a special game because they’re an Arab team playing at home and in front of their own fans,” he said. “We’re expecting a tough match.”
“Al-Duhail are a strong side with some quality players. They’ve made some big signings, bringing in a forward and a defender. We’ve watched their last few games in the Qatari league, and we know it’s going to be a big battle. We need to prepare the best we can so we can put in a good performance,” the goalkeeper explained.
“I want to meet Manuel Neuer. My goal is to win the title. If we want to be world champions, we’ll need to stick together and be a unit.”
The Pharaohs goalie sealed his remarks to FIFA by stressing the team’s ambitions to finish the tournament in an advanced place, putting on a good performance, and concentrating on each game separately to achieve what they aspire.
Ahly have made five previous appearances at the Club World Cup, the last of which was in 2013. Their best result was a third-place finish at the 2006 edition that was held in Japan.
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