Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane says his team respects their opponent Simba S.C. but avoids exaggeration in being cautious ahead of facing the Tanzanian side on Tuesday, stressing that securing an early qualification from the CAF Champions League Group Stage is a priority for Ahly this season.
The Cairo giants will be hosted by Simba S.C. at the National Stadium tomorrow in the second round of Group A games of the prestigious tournament.
“It is a football game, and we are cautious. We respect Simba, but without exaggeration, as they have the same desire to win,” the Ahly coach explained.
“Simba is an outstanding team, but we came here only to win, and we are aware we are facing a strong opponent that has a great popularity at home.”
“We are looking at the Group Stage in a different way this time, as we seek to secure a qualification early, unlike last season, when we qualified only in the last round after passing Sudan’s Al-Hilal,” Mosimane said in the pre-match press conference on Monday.
“We are fully concentrated on the Simba game and our goal is not to think of the past.”
“Ahly was negatively affected by the hard matches in the Club World Cup and that was the main reason behind the recent various injuries, as we played three matches in just nine days. We will benefit from the experiences that we got during the Club World Cup matches,” the South African coach added.
Holders Ahly secured their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the last edition after waiting till the last match of the group stage to qualify as the runners-up of their group.
Ahly defeated Sudan’s Al-Merrikh 3-0 in the group stage opening game last week to become in the driving seat of Group A with three points, sharing the same points with Simba, who defeated Vita Club of DR Congo 1-0 away from home.
Ahly will face Simba without the key duo left back Ali Maaloul and winger Taher Mohamed Taher due to injuries. However, efficient defender Ayman Ashraf was deemed fit for the game after recovering from a muscle injury.
Mosimane says he does not have specific plans to deal with the weather in Tanzania but said that any technical changes would be only to beat Simba.
“I studied Simba well, and they have excellent players. It will be a big game against a strong and well organised team, but we are targeting a positive result to ensure an early qualification,” he concluded.
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