Ahly skipper and goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi defended his suspended teammates Hussein El-Shahat and Mahmoud Kahraba ahead of Thursday's game against Brazil's Palmeiras, stressing that the Reds will fight to win the Club World Cup bronze medal to appease their fans.
Ahly will be facing the South American champions in the prestigious tournament third-place match in Doha.
"We are focused on the Palmeiras match. We have a very difficult challenge ahead of us, but we are confident and our eyes are set on the bronze medal," El-Shennawi said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Ahly players are determined to please their fans everywhere," he added.
The African champions, Ahly, 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 forgot everything about the Bayern Munich match to concentrate and prepare well for Palmeiras," said the international keeper El-Shennawi.
On Thursday, the Cairo giants will be missing key attacking midfield duo El-Shahat and Kahraba after being suspended by FIFA for violating COVID-19 precautionary measures in Qatar through approaching Ahly supporters, but according to El-Shenawi, Ahly have other substitutes that can fill the gap.
"What happened from El-Shahat and Kahraba wasn't intentional. I hoped that they would be available for the game, but anyway, the technical staff have full confidence in the substitutes. Any player will do his best to win and return home with the bronze medal," he concluded.
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.
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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