Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane was full of praise for his troops following a hard-fought 1-0 win against North American champions Monterrey in their opening Fifa Club World Cup clash on Saturday evening.
The African champions were missing a number of their key stars as some are away on international duty in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), and others are injured.
However, Mosimane’s men managed to book a place in the semfinals, thanks to a goal by Mohamed Hany at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
“This is football. Everything happens on the pitch, and apart from the circumstances and excuses, we have to win,” said Mosimane.
“We could have scored two goals in the second half, but we played in difficult conditions, and we didn’t think about where the players were playing and their different positions, but we were able to use them in a good way.
“We have big fans who support us, which helps us in a lot of games, and Bayern Munich knew the impact of these people, and they said that last year, but they support me especially since I am the first African coach to coach Al Ahly, who depended on European and South American coaches.
“We want to give everything we have in that tournament, and we want to be modest in our preparation and because we want to prepare well and compete for the title.”
The Cairo giants will tackle Brazilian side Palmeiras in the semifinal on Tuesday.
“Last year’s match against Palmeiras was very difficult, and the game went into a penalty shootout, and maybe it will happen again. Their coach is great on the tactical level, but we have a team that is also organized, and we know how to defend,” added Mosimane.
“I think it will be a tactical match, and they will not say that we will win, everything is possible, and they will try to beat us, but we will prepare seriously. They have won the Libertadores twice in a row, and they are a big team, but we are not afraid of anyone.”