Asian champions Al Duhail have admitted a tough clash against Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup that starts early next month in Qatar.
Al Duhail were handed a strong opponent in the FIFA Club competition following a draw held at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Tuesday afternoon.
The Qatar champions will now take on Egyptian powerhouse in the quarterfinals of the competition after Al Ahly representing African following their glory in African’s first tie inter club football, beating domestic rivals Zamalek to the title in the finals in Morocco.
If Al Duhail are able to crush out Al Ahly, they will face European champions Bayern Munich in semifinals.
Al Ahly are experienced side in the competition, making 5 appearances already including the club’s best ever performance in the competition in 2006 (Third place finish) where veteran Mohamed Aboukrika emerged as Golden Boot winner.
Al Ahly will be a tough side for any team as far as the FIFA Club World Cup is concerned and Al Duhail is not exception of teams who arguably will not want to meet the African giants in the competition.
While Al Duhail are delighted to book a quarterfinals place after been handed a walkover due to their first round’s opponent Auckland City FC redrawing after citing stringent coronavirus regulations, the host team have admitted a difficult game against Ahly- further strengthened by the appointment of South African trainer Pitso Mosimane.
Duhail’s Sports Club Director Adnan Al Ali made the big admission on club’s official website after the draw ahead of the FIFA World Cup opener.
“The draw was done and our match against Al Ahly – the Egyptian and African champions – will be difficult,” Ali told the club’s website. “We will have different preparations for this tournament, preparations that are different from ones for local competitions.
“We are the host team for Club World Cup and we hope to have an honourable appearance and achieve positive results. If we succeed against Al Ahly, we will confront Bayern Munich which is definitely going to be a very difficult match.
“We will depend on the ability of our players to appear in a way that will represent Qatari football in a proper way.
“We will have a match in the Amir Cup against Al Ahli SC and it will act as one of the preparations for Fifa Club World Cup.”
Ali has stated the team will first enter into a camp on February 1 in order to have special preparation ahead of the clash against the Egyptian heavyweights.
Kenyan International Michael Olunga who recently joined Duhail – is set to appear for the first time in the global club competition – is among the new players who joined the Qatari club that earned a place in the tournament after the withdrawal of Auckland City FC.
“After the withdrawal of New Zealand [Auckland City FC withdrew citing stringent coronavirus regulations] and reaching the second stage of the championship, we decided to have the team in a closed camp from February 1.
“It is the best and special way to prepare the players for the Al Ahly match and we trust the ability of the technical staff to prepare the players technically and physically for the showdown.
The director pointed out that Olunga and new players were brought specifically to help Al-Duhail achieve their ambitions in the Club World Cup.
“We have included a number of new players to strengthen our ranks and among them are Ali Karim and [Michael] Olunga. They are important additions to the team that is preparing to represent the country in this important championship,” Ali added.
“Al Saad hosted the last edition and this will be the last edition being hosted in Qatar and we certainly hope our participation will be positive. We hope to achieve our goals by participating as required.”
The fixtures will be played at three venues – in the city of Al Rayyan Khalifa International Stadium, Education City Stadium, and Ahmed bin Ali Stadium when the tournament begins on February 4.
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