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Caf Champions League: Al Ahly 'like soldiers in front of our fans' - Mosimane ahead of Esperance de Tunis clash

20:18 BST 18/06/2021
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pisto Mosimane.
The South African tactician explains how they want to entertain their fans by winning the two legs of their semis-finals clash

Al Ahly coach Pisto Mosimane has revealed his players' objective is to entertain and win matches for the fans as they come up against Esperance de Tunis in the first leg semi-final clash in the Caf Champions League on Saturday.

The Red Devils from Egypt will face the Tunisian giants at Hammadi Agrebi Olympic Stadium in Rades with the return leg scheduled to be played on July 25 in Cairo.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, the former Mamelodi Sundowns tactician as stated their main focus is to make sure they reach the final and win the trophy for the fans.

“We are like soldiers in front of our fans, always seeking to make them happy with titles and win matches,” Mosimane said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“Our goal is to win the semi-final with a total of two games. Al Ahly against Esperance is a classic Champions League game and we all know the importance of the game, given the history and the ambitions of both clubs and their constant desire to win titles.

"I respect Esperance and their head coach and I know the club's value and the huge fan base that supports Esperance in Tunisia.

"We respect all our opponents and we are humble. It is very important to be humble but I believe in my players and I believe that we have a chance to win here tomorrow [Saturday]."

"We are an experienced team and we always play to win and make our fans happy. We have a huge responsibility towards our history and our fans. We are soldiers and we are defending Al Ahly badge."

"We want to win the semi-finals and reach the final. Our focus is on not conceding goals and trying to score to have an advantage ahead of the second leg."

Speaking at the same press conference, goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy acknowledged they are coming up against a strong team with good players but maintained their focus is to make sure they retain the title.

“It is an important game for us and for our fans. We know it will be a difficult game and we also know the value of Esperance and their strength in the African competitions. They are a strong side and they have many good players,” El Shenawy said as quoted by the same portal.

“We have been preparing for this game for 15 days and we are fully focused to get a positive result to have an advantage in the second leg.

“Our game against Esperance in 2018 is in the past now. The two teams witnessed several changes since that game. We have already forgotten that game and we are focusing only on tomorrow’s match.”

“The two clubs enjoy a great relationship and I hope that the players show mutual respect tomorrow [Saturday] on the pitch.

“We, the players, always speak about our desire to win the Champions League title again this season, we play for Al Ahly and we always play for winning.”

Meanwhile, Al Ahly’s medical staff has denied the rumours claiming their midfielder Akram Tawfik had suffered an injury ahead of the Esperance game.

“Our medical staff confirmed that Tawfik is in good physical condition and that he has been training with the team ever since their arrival in Tunisia,” the club said.

“Tawfik suffered a leg bruise before the team’s trip to Tunisia, but then he underwent a medical check-up on Wednesday, which confirmed that he is fit to participate against Tunisia’s Esperance.”

However, defenders Mohamed Hany and Mohamed Metwally, will miss out as they still haven’t recovered from their respective injuries and did not travel with the rest of the squad.

Elsewhere, Esperance will be without the services of defender Houcine Rabii, who tested positive for Covid-19 but the entire Al Ahly delegation returned negative results.