Manuel Jose celebrates winning 2008 CAF Champions League title with with Ahly players (Photo: Reuters)
Former Ahly manager Manuel Jose has warned the team about refereeing mistakes in the CAF Champions League final and urged the players to focus and not waste time during the match.
“African refereeing mistakes can be fatal and Ahly suffered from them many times in the past,” the 66-year-old Portuguese was quoted as saying by Ahly’s official website on Tuesday.
The Cairo giants, currently coached by Jose’s former assistant Hossam El-Badry, will be tested next Saturday in Rades, Tunisia when they play titleholders Esperance in the second leg of the final. The match will be refereed by Moroccan Bouchaib El-Ahrach.
The first leg finished in a depressing 1-1 draw in Alexandria.
Ahly were knocked out of the 2010 Champions League semifinal by Esperance following a controversial second-leg goal by Nigerian striker Michael Eneramo.
“This match needs a special strategy and it has to be carried out with concentration, accuracy and confidence,” Jose said.
Esperance also eliminated Ahly from the group stage last year, when they were led by Jose.
Jose confirmed that he would watch the match as his “relationship with Ahly is deeper than just management.” He refused to comment on any technical matters because he “fully trusts the abilities of coach El-Badry.”
Currently managing Persepolis FC of Iran, Jose spent more than six years with the Red Castles from 2001 to 2012 in three spells separated by a year with Belenenses of Portugal (2002-2003), another with the Angola national team (2009-2010) and a third with Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia.
Besides leading Ahly to four Africa Champions League titles, Jose inspired the club to win a series of trophies, including six Egyptian Premier League titles, two Egypt Cups, four Egyptian Super Cups.
Ahly are eyeing a record-extending seventh continental title while Esperance are looking to lift the trophy for the second time in a row and third overall.
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