The Akure Gunners say they are ready to get a good first leg result against the visitors from Cairo on Saturday in the first leg semi final of the Caf Champions League
Alaba, Ali, Ebitogwa, Egbune
Kwambe, Precious, Azuka, Ibrahim
Rabia, Saad Samir, Abdelfadil, Moawad
Said, Gedo, Shokry
The Akure side have been in close camping for about one week now and they are supremely confident that they can turn the table against their more illustrous opponents.
With the payment of 50 percent of their sign-on fees, players of Sunshine Stars are optimistic that they will get the job done at the Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode.
Sunshine Stars striker, Izu Azuka is familiar with North African football having played in Algeria before joining the Akure side this season and he is sure they will beat Ahly in this first leg game.
"I know we have prepared very well for this game and we are not afraid of Al Ahly. We are ready for this one regardless of what we went through these past days.
"We are ready to take the Egyptians to the cleaners and God will see us through. This first leg is very important for us and if we are going to play in the finals, the result in this game against Ahly is very vital," Azuka said. "
Ibrahim Ajani who struggled all through last season is willing to do his best to get the crucial goals that would prove helpful for his club's progress in the competition on Saturday.
"I want to say that I will do my best on Saturday and if any goal opportunity comes my way, I am confident that I will put the ball inside the net.
"We have to prove that we are a very good side. The fact that we qualified for the semi finals is no mean feat and we must show that we are capable of playing in the final and even going ahead to win the trophy.
"We need the fans at the Stadium on Saturday because their support will go a long way to motivating us to get a good result," Ajani said.
Ahly are not taking the game lightly because they want to finish up the job in Ijebu Ode although some of their key players will be missing from the game.
Goal.com learnt that midfield trojan Mohammed Aboutrika is still serving suspension from his club after the Super Cup saga.
Other players who are likely going to also miss the game are Emad Meteb, Sayed Moawad and Oussou Konan. In spite of the absence of the key players, the team is still confident that they can get a good result in Ijebu Ode before finishing up the job in Cairo.
But Executive Director of Ondo State Football Agency, Mike Idoko said the Egyptain side are being smart and want to deceive us into believing that the team is depleted.
"We don't believe all the news that some of the players are injured. They want to make us relax. But we are training as if the complete squad is in Ijebu Ode for the game on Saturday.
"We have done well in training and I am hopeful that we are going to secure a good win against Ahly on Saturday," Idoko said.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Sunshine Stars are playing their first ever season in the Champions League.
- The Akure Gunners finished in mid-table during the recently ended Nigeria Premier League season.
- Sunshine were semi-finalists in their maiden campaign on the continent in last year's Confedederation Cup.
- Sunshine have not played at home in Akure for more than two years since the Ondo State government commenced repairs on its home ground.
- Al Ahly are old war horses on the continent where they have won a record six Caf Champions League crowns.
- The National (as they are known) have a long standing rivalry with fellow Cairo club Zamalek.
- Ahly have not played regular league football this season due to the cancellation of the Egyptian season for crowd disturbance that led to the death of more than 74 fans.
- Ahly topped their group with 11 points while Sunshine managed just seven points after Etoile du Sahel were expelled from the competition.