Ahly coach unfazed by Ittihad Jeddah foreign players’ big number

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Dec 2023

Ahly manager Marcel Koller downplays the impact of Ittihad Jeddah's foreign players, stressing that the Egyptian champions are equally capable as the Saudi club.

 Marcel Koller
Ahly manager Marcel Koller. Photo courtesy of Al-Ahly


Ahly will have a tough mission on Friday when they take on Ittihad Jeddah in the FIFA Club World Cup quarter-finals at King Abdullah Stadium in Jeddah.

Ittihad Jeddah boasts ten foreign players in their squad, including stars like 2022 Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, former Chelsea midfielder and international N'Golo Kanté, former Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, and Egyptian international defender Ahmed Hegazi.

"Ittihad have 10 foreign players compared to Ahly's 4, but the number of foreign players does not determine the outcome of the match," Koller told Ahly official website on Thursday.

"Ittihad have many resources like other Saudi clubs after attracting top talents, but our objective is to deliver a convincing performance."

The Swiss coach also noted that Ittihad displayed a strong performance in their first-round match against Auckland, securing an easy 3-0 victory.

He confirmed that Ahly are well-prepared for the game and ready for any challenges that come their way.

"We watched the match between Ittihad and Auckland, and we recognize that they are a formidable team with several star players," Koller added.

"We are also a strong team, aiming to achieve a positive result and provide an enjoyable match."

"I don't want to speculate on the percentage chance of victory for either team," Koller stated.

"We acknowledge that Ittihad have the advantage of playing at home and in front of their fans, but the fans do not directly influence the game, and the players should not be affected by that.

"The most crucial aspect is to deliver a strong performance to secure the win," he concluded.

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