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Football

Al Ahly seek 12th CAF Champions League title

CAIRO

Al Ahly’s players have spoken of the “responsibility” they feel to deliver the club’s 12th TotalEnergies CAF Champions League title as they prepare for the first leg of this year’s final against Esperance.

The Egyptian giants take on their Tunisian rivals in the opening instalment in Tunis on Saturday, looking to gain an advantage ahead of the decisive second leg in Cairo next week.

For the defending champions, reaching a fifth consecutive Champions League final is an achievement in itself, but their sights are firmly set on retaining their crown.

“Al Ahly is a great team that won this competition last year and has consistently been in the final for the past five years, which is a significant achievement,” said winger Hussein El Shahat.

“The match will be tough for both teams, and we hope luck will be on our side. Playing in the fifth consecutive final is a big deal and a responsibility for us.

“Al Ahly has not come to defend or draw; we respect Esperance, which is also a great and respected club, and we are here to win.”

Defender Rami Rabia echoed those sentiments, insisting Al Ahly’s illustrious history means they must always be aiming for success.

“Al Ahly is known for winning championships. The current generation has achieved several titles,” said the 30-year-old.

“Al Ahly has given a lot to the players, and we will try to give back to the club, especially since we are just a small part of the Al Ahly system. We will do our part and aim to gift the victory to Al Ahly fans.”

While full of confidence, Al Ahly are certainly not underestimating the threat posed by four-time winners Esperance.  

“We respect Esperance Sportive de Tunis, which is a good team, and we are very focused on the match, just as they are,” added Rabia. “We will try to do our best, and the circumstances of the match will determine the winner.”

El Shahat was equally complimentary of their final opponents: “Esperance has great players, and we respect them all, whether they are Brazilian or Tunisian.”

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