Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena believes that there is a mutual respect between themselves and Al Ahly, especially after beating the African giant’s twice last season.
Downs will be feeling upbeat after putting away Al Hilal and Cotonsport but the daunting task of playing away to Al Ahly will always remain the ultimate test. Tickets were sold out 15 minutes after they were made available, signifying the rivalry that has developed between the two sides.
“Al Ahly is a very good side, but they know that Sundowns is also a good side, so the way we speak about them as an opposition, is probably the same way they speak about Mamelodi Sundowns as a team,” said Rhulani Mokwena.
“It’s a team that’s difficult to beat, a team that has good players, a team that is well coached and well organised. So those acronyms I’m sure are discussion points that Al Ahly has when discussing Sundowns.
“But I can use the same, I can tell you they’re a team that has technically very good players that play in positions, where you need important players to decide the result and Abdelkader, Sherif, Afsha, Percy Tau, Abdelmonem are all important players for them.
“Hany, Maâloul, are very experienced with good technical ability and then of course, a team that has a lot of physicality, a team that has a lot of speed on the counterattack, a team that has a lot of threat on set-pieces.”
Al Ahly come into this game having competed at the FIFA Club World Cup, as well as then losing to Al Hilal in their opening Group B fixture in the CAF Champions League. They will be looking to gain some ground on their leaders of the group Masandawana.
“They are a team with good international experience. The experience of going to a Club World Cup and playing against Flamengo, Seattle Sounders and even Real Madrid is very good for them. But they know we’re a team that beat them twice last season, we beat them home and away, they know. So, they will come with a lot of respect for us, just as we have for them,” Mokwena continued.
“What happened in the past has little bearing on this, it’s a big game, with big players and it’s important for both clubs and both sets of players. It’s an incredible pitch, an amazing atmosphere created in Cairo. The best players play these types of games and enjoy these types of feelings. We know we’ve got to be at our best to have a chance to win.”
In Al Ahly SC’s last league encounter they went on to beat Aswan by three goals to nil, taking them to the summit of the Egyptian Premier League.
The game will kick off on Saturday evening at 21:00, reigniting the African North-South Derby in Cairo.
Also Read: PSL Club monitoring Former Downs Star