African Champions Al Ahly SC start their way in the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup on Thursday (4 February 2021) when they face hosts and Qatar champions Al Duhail SC at Education City Stadium in Doha.
Road to Qatar 2020
Al Ahly cruised into the group stage, dispatching Atlabara of South Sudan and Cano Sport of Equatorial Guinea. The Red Devils then came second behind Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia in a section that also featured Platinum of Zimbabwe and Sudan’s Al Hilal. In the quarter-finals, Al Ahly avenged their 2019 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns by beating them 2-0 in Cairo before drawing 1-1 in Pretoria. In the last four, the Egyptian side beat Wydad Casablanca 5-1 on aggregate, before defeating arch-rivals Zamalek 2-1 in a game dubbed “the final of the century”.
In a surprising move, Al Ahly appointed South African coach Pitso Mosimane, who won the 2016 CAF Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns, prior to the semi-finals. In fact, Mosimane was at the helm of Sundowns earlier in 2020 when they were eliminated by Al Ahly. A coach with extensive experience in Africa, Mosimane is known for his ability to read the game.
What to expect
Al Ahly are solid all over the park. Their goalkeeper, Mohamed El Shenawy, is one of the best in Africa and they also boast a wonderfully creative midfield and strong forward line led by Marwan Mohsen and Nigerian Junior Ajayi as well as Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy who scored the winner in the final. The left flank is also powerful thanks to Tunisian Ali Maaloul, who loves to roam forward from his wingback position.
6 — Having won the CAF Champions League and secured a spot at the FIFA Club World Cup, Al Ahly will overtake Real Madrid in number of appearances at the tournament. At Qatar 2020, the Red Devils will make their sixth appearance ahead of Real Madrid (5). Auckland City remain the record holder on nine.