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Ahly hoping for fan boost in Super Cup

Supporters will be in attendance at Ahly's Super Cup tie with Tunisia's Sfaxien at Cairo stadium

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 19 Feb 2014
Mohamed Youssef coach of Egypt's Ahly (Photo: Reuters)

Ahly are hoping their supporters can give them a boost in their Super Cup tie against Sfaxien.

African Champions League holders Ahly face Tunisia's Sfaxien, who won the Confederation Cup, in the CAF Super Cup in Cairo on Thursday.

The Cairo giants, who have lost some key players due to retirement and injuries, have suffered three defeats in the Egyptian Premier League this season: 2-1 to Arab Contractors, 1-0 to Daqahleya and 1-0 to Gouna.

"We have been preparing for the past few weeks, playing a game every four days in the Egyptian Premier League. We have played nine games thus far. Our performances have not been that good but we are anxious and ambitious about winning the CAF Super Cup," Youssef said on Wednesday in an interview with the Confederation of African Football's official website.

"This is a different game altogether. Our performance in the league has been largely due to the absence of some key players. We have played with many reserve players, which has affected our output. This is just a one-off game and the good news is that some of our injured players are responding positively ahead of the game. We will fight on until the last minute to achieve our target.

"There is a lot of history between the two clubs and this is a special moment for me. Last year, we beat AC Leopards (DR Congo) and we are ambitious to win it again. I hope to win the CAF Super Cup as a coach after winning the CAF Champions League [as assistant coach] last year," he added.

For the first time in many months, 20,000 Ahly supporters have been given permission to attend the match.

All matches in Egypt have been played behind closed doors due to security concerns since the army ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi amid mass protests on 3 July.

"The supporters have been an important element of Ahly's success. Their presence will be good for the team and spur us on. They have always stood by us and followed us wherever we went. We will play for the fans and the title will be the ideal gift for them. It will be a special moment and we must be in a good position to deliver," Youssef said.

Ahly won the African Champions League title in November after beating South Africa's Orlando. Sfaxien won the Confederation Cup title after beating TP Mazembe of DR Congo.

Ahly are the record holders of the African Super Cup with five titles under their belt. They beat Sfaxien 2-1 in the same competition in 2009.

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