Mamelodi Sundowns secured their place in this year’s CAF Champions League quarter-finals after a successful run in the group stage of the competition. The team were placed in a contentious group which included CR Belouizdad of Algeria, Al Hilal of Sudan and TP Mazembe of DR Congo in a cut-throat Group B. The Brazilians’ attention is now on the battleground set in Egypt as they come face to face with the defending champions, Al Ahly.
Saturday’s game will take place in Cairo at the 30 000-capacity Al Salam Stadium which was built in 2009. The stadium has been used for the FIFA U-20 World Cup and also hosted 10 games at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations including the third-place play-off.
Who are The Red Giants?
Al Ahly Sporting Club, commonly known as Al Ahly, is one of the biggest teams in Egypt and across Africa. Their rich history has seen the club amass a total of 42 Egyptian Premier League trophies, 37 Egyptian Cup trophies, 9 CAF Champions League trophies and 6 Super CAF trophies to cement their status as Egypt’s most successful club.
Al Ahly are the current holders of the CAF Champions League title, after defeating fierce rivals Zamalek SC in last year’s final.
The team from the capital are currently occupying position number two in the Egyptian Premier League after nineteen games. They have lost only two games domestically, and have also been scoring goals regularly.
Their most recent encounter was against Zamalek on the 10th of May in a game that ended with the two sides sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Al Ahly are currently under the stewardship of Head Coach Pitso Mosimane, former player and coach for Mamelodi Sundowns. The South African-born coach is a former player who has shown up for reputable clubs like Orlando Pirates and Jomo Cosmos. “Jingles” also served as an assistant of the South African Men National Senior team during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Mosimane has been in charge of The Red Giants since October 2020 and will come up against his former side for the first time since his departure.
Players to watch:
Mohammed El Shenawy: The Egyptian National team Goalkeeper he has played 17 league games, conceding eleven goals while keeping a clean sheet seven times. He is thirty-two years old and stands 1.91 meters tall. The goalkeeper has kept four clean sheets in this season’s CAF Champions League.
Another player to look out for is 25-year old striker Mohammed Sherif. The Egypt international is one of the most dangerous players on the side as he poses a threat with both feet. The young star has netted three goals in eight of his appearances in this year’s CAF Champions League encounters.
Previous encounters vs Al Ahly
This weekend’s encounter marks the third time in three campaigns that Sundowns will meet Al Ahly in the quarter-final stage for the continental competition. The two sides are evenly matched in terms of the outcomes of their previous ties, with Mamelodi Sundowns dominating the quarter final in the 2018/19 campaign, emerging 5-1 winners on aggregate. The 2019/20 campaign saw the Egyptian side emerge as victors winning 3-1 on aggregate.
“They are very good team, well-coached and you can see there is a lot of investment from the technical team in particular. Of course with Coach Pitso we know the amount of work he puts in behind the scenes and you can see because it’s reflected in the team, they have a clear identity.” – Coach Rulani Mokwena