Youssef: “Victory will take us closer to the semis”
Egyptian giants Al Ahly will face Ghana’s Berekum Chelsea in their day three clash of the group phase of the Orange CAF Champions League on Saturday at the Military Stadium in Cairo.
After successive victories over TP Mazembe and archrivals Zamalek, assistant trainer of the six-time winners Mohamed Youssef tells Cafonline.com that they are primed for victory which will inch them closer to the last four.
For Youssef, victory is the watchword as they face surprise packets Berekum Chelsea in their quest to advance to the next round of the premier continental club championship. Below are excerpts of his interview with cafonline.com.
Cafonline.com: What do you make of your team’s clash with Berekum Chelsea on Saturday?
Mohamed Youssef: At this stage, all the games are difficult because all teams are only looking forward to victories to seal their places at the semi finals. It will be tough for both teams, but we have one word in our minds – victory. We miss the support from our teeming fans, which has been the case in all our home games this year.
Cafonline.com: Ahly leads the group with the maximum six points. How will you approach the game?
Mohamed Youssef: The outcome of our encounter with Berekum Chelsea is key to our quest for a semi final spot. If we manage to win, we will remain at the summit of the standings and move a huge step towards the last four. We will approach the game with a lot of determination to win from the onset. It is critical because we will have two away games in the next round.
Cafonline.com: How are your preparations towards the game?
Mohamed Youssef: After the victory over Zamalek, we resumed our regular training sessions and engaged in a couple of friendly games to keep the players in shape. Also, we will have a closed-camp 48-hours prior to the match, like we did for the Mazembe and Zamalek games.
Cafonline.com: Is any of your players unavailable for the game?
Mohamed Youssef: MidfielderAhmed Fathy is suspended after picking his second yellow card against Zamalek two weeks ago. It is a big blow because Fathy is a very important player, but we hope to find a near perfect replacement. Another problem is with Mohamed Aboutreika and Emad Meteab, currently on national duty at the London 2012 Olympic Games. They are expected before the game and we hope their late return won’t affect their physical condition.
Cafonline.com: What do you know of your opponents Berekum Chelsea?
Mohamed Youssef: Berekum Chelsea are a very good team especially physically. It is clear from their previous games that they are determined as they came from behind in both games. We have reviewed their matches against Zamalek and Mazembe to put our hands on their strength and weaknesses.
Cafonline.com: How do you see competition in this group?
Mohamed Youssef: Like I said before, all the games are difficult because all teams are poised for the title. The group includes three of the big names in African football in addition to Berekum Chelsea, who has proven to be a tough nut to crack. We hope to achieve victory that will see us closer to the semi finals.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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