Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane said his team is focused and ready to win Thursday's match against Brazilian Palmeiras in the third-place match to clinch the FIFA Club World Cup Bronze medal.
"We need our players to deliver their best against Palmeiras. Some of our players will be absent, but we have substitutes who can play the same role," Mosimane said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"We came here as African Champions, and that is also the fact for South American champions Palmeiras.
"We have our eyes on the Bronze medal," the South African coach added.
The African champions started their mission in the FIFA Club World Cup by beating hosts Al-Duhail of Qatar 1-0 last week, before slumping to their first defeat under Mosimane on Monday when they lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich.
"We are not happy for losing against Bayern because we had a chance to do something. We don't have the same chances as Bayern, but we believe in our ability to win this time," the Ahly coach stated.
"We respect our fans' point of view and their supportive role in the stands in the last two matches here, but finally you can't select your starting line-up on social media."
Palmeiras lost in the semifinal to Mexico’s Tigres, who wrote history by qualifying to the final. This is the first time in history that a team from North America has reached this stage.
On Thursday, Ahly will be missing key attacking midfield duo Hussein El-Shahat and Mahmoud Kahraba after being suspended by FIFA for violating COVID-19 precautionary measures in Qatar.
Television footage captured El-Shahat and Kahraba approaching the vibrant Ahly supporters and shaking hands with some following the end of Monday's semifinal, including the team's former iconic playmaker Mohamed Abu Treika.
"We have confidence in all our players and we are preparing alternatives for El-Shahat and Kahraba. What happened from both players was spontaneous," the Ahly coach said.
"I am satisfied with Ahly's performance in the Club World Cup. We represented Africa in the best way and we reached the semifinal, and tomorrow we are competing for the Bronze medal.
"We will fight in the coming period to appear again in the Club World Cup," he 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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