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Koller Hits Back At Ahly Critics In Group Stage Scrap

Al Ahly head coach Marcel Koller has hit back at the critics of their group stage ahead of their sixth CAF Champions League final in seven seasons.

The Swiss coach is in his debut season with the club since succeeding Ricardo Soares – the Portuguese coach who lasted just two months after replacing Pitso Mosimane.

Under the South African, they won two finals and lost the third against Wydad during his tenure, and that previous defeat is something that doesn’t bother Koller one bit.

“I don’t dwell on the past, and it doesn’t affect us. Our focus is on the future and winning this title. The previous final was a single game, but now the situation has changed, and we will play two games,” he said in the pre-match press conference.

In what was a controversial spectacle as the Stade Mohamed V had hosted to finals in consecutive seasons in the failed once-off spectacle introduced by CAF, it’s back to the two-legged ties which the Red Devils boss is cognizant of the importance of the home victory.

“Wydad is a big team, and it’s not easy to score against them, but we will work towards achieving a favorable result before the away game in Morocco,” he continued before confirming their club captain will be available for the return leg in Casablanca.

“[Mohamed] El Shennawy has only participated in training once in the past 17 days, but he will be fit for the away game in Morocco.”

Koller also addressed the talk that he would be leading them to an embarrassing group stage exit this season, when they needed a favour from Mamelodi Sundowns to keep their qualification hopes alive.

“During the group stage, some people doubted our ability to reach the final,” he added.

“However, the team has made significant improvements, and we have progressed to the final.”

The fixture at the iconic Cairo International Stadium will kick off this evening at 20h00.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.