Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane (R) with team skipper Mohamed El-Shenawy in Sunday's press conference ahead of facing Bayern Munich in the Club World Cup semi final (Photo: Ahly's official website)
African champions Ahly deserve their spot at the FIFA Club World Cup semi final, according to the team’s South African coach, Pitso Mosimane, who is against any excessive hype towards Monday’s anticipated match against Bayern Munich.
After claiming a narrow 1-0 victory over Qatar’s Al-Duhail at the Club World Cup quarters on Thursday, the Red Devils will meet European Giants Bayern at the prestigious tournament’s semi-final in Doha.
“Sure, it’s an important and historical game, but I don’t think it will be the most important game in Ahly’s history,” Mosimane said in the pre-match press conference on Sunday.
“Ahly deserve to reach the World Cup semi final after beating Al-Duhail, and also because we are the African Champions.”
“You should enjoy your work, and we play football for success and amusement, and we are fully aware of how the fans are waiting for this big match,” he added.
Ahly had met Bayern Munich in two friendly matches; the first was in 1977 that ended with a 2-1 win for the Egyptian team, and the second was in 2012 that ended with a 2-1 victory for the Bavarians.
Mosimane heaped praise on his players, adding that both Ahly and Bayern have their own faults, but the most important thing is to learn from mistakes to avoid them in the future.
“We are so humble regarding admitting our mistakes. All clubs all over the world are being criticized and we appreciate and respect this point,” the Ahly coach explained.
“We believe in ourselves and this confidence won’t be affected anyway. We are determined to continue our campaign and achieve our targets successfully.”
“All the clubs in Africa wish to be in the semi final; facing European champions, like Ahly,” he concluded.
Ahly psychologically ready
Meanwhile, Ahly’s skipper Mohamed El-Shenawy stressed that his team is ready to deliver an outstanding performance against Bayern.
“It will be a strong and important game against the European champions, but at the same time, we are African Champions. All Ahly players are psychologically ready and able to deliver an outstanding performance that fits the club of the century and the representative of both Africa and Egypt,” Shenawi said in Sunday’s press conference.
“We are preparing for the match according to a specific system and we respect all our opponents regardless of their names.”
“All players are eager to put on a superb display against Bayern, who have distinguished players in different positions. We are determined to play a strong game and will fight to please the fans that stand behind the team everywhere,” the Ahly skipper concluded.
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 Japan’s 2006 edition.
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