LIVE: USGN v Al Ahly | CAF Champions League

LIVE: USGN v Al Ahly | CAF Champions League

17:30 Cairo local time | 11:30 ET Canada-USA
Venue: General Seyni Kountche (Niamey)

African Champions League holders Ahly kick off the defense of their crown against Niger’s Union Sportive de la Gendarmerie Nationale in the first leg of the second preliminary round at Stade Général Senyi Kountche stadium on Saturday.

Ahly, who claimed the last two editions of the Champions League title, are hoping to secure the title for the third time in a row to atone for losing the Egyptian Premier League title to arch-rivals Zamalek last season.

The Cairo giants won the 2020 and 2021 Champions League titles and 2020 African Super Cup as well as finishing third in the FIFA Club World Cup.

However, the team’s technical staff faced a tough reaction from the club’s management after losing two domestic titles – the Egyptian League and Super Cup – that put pressure on the team and left them with no choice except to keep the African title at home.

The Red Devils’ coach Pitso Mosimane has promised the team’s supporters that he is ready to win the continental title for the third time in row next season.

“I am very excited that our journey towards achieving the third CAF Champions League title in a row starts on Saturday in Niger,” Mosimane wrote on his official Twitter account early on Thursday.

“We are focused on the prize ahead and ready to once again conquer the CAFCLCC tournament,” the South African coach added.

The Ahly delegation arrived in Niger on Thursday within preparations for the away game. The second leg game will be played at Ahly Stadium on 23 October.

Ahly will make do without a number of key players, including first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy who will be out for at least one month after picking an injury while playing with Egypt against Libya in a World Cup qualifier.

In-form winger Mohamed “Afsha” Magdi left the squad after the team’s coach decided to hand him a rest following his superb effort last season.

Ahly football director Sayed Abde-Hafiz believes the game against Gendarmerie Nationale won’t be easy for the African champions, asking the players to achieve victory in order to start the team off good in the continental tournament.

“We have to concentrate on the game and do our best to achieve a positive result as the game won’t be easy,” Abdel-hafiz was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

Ahly will play the game without the services of the newly signed players including Mozambican attacking midfielder Luis Miquissone, South African left-winger Percy Tau and Egyptian striker Hossam Hassan as they hadn’t been registered in the team’s primary African squad.

Gendarmerie Nationale booked their place in the second preliminary round of the Champions League after beating Le Messager Ngozi of Burundi 2-1 on aggregate in the first round last month.

LIVE: USGN v Al Ahly | CAF Champions League

17:30 Cairo local time | 11:30 ET Canada-USA

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