Rulani Mokwena praises Al Ahly pedigree despite poor SA record

Rulani Mokwena praises Al Ahly pedigree despite poor SA record

Even though Al Ahly are yet to win in 12 previous visits to South Africa, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena was still full of praise for the Egyptian giants.

The Red Devils face The Brazilians in Group B of the CAF Champions League at Loftus Stadium on Saturday and will be eager to register their first-ever victory against a Premier Soccer League outfit. 

They have never been able to achieve the feat when previously facing Downs, Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits, Ajax Cape Town, and Platinum Stars in the past.

But Mokwena points to the experience in Al Ahly’s squad.

"Al Ahly, with regards to having never won, is difficult to comment [on] because when I look at their team, I see a team with 393 CAF Champions League appearances among their starting line-up against us," said Mokwena.

"That's close to 400 appearances in the Champions League and that's the level of experience that they have as compared to my team that has 170-odd CAF Champions League appearances.

"And so, for sure, without looking too much into the threat they possess and the quality they have, like every other team they have weaknesses."

After drawing 2-2 in Cairo last month, a win tomorrow afternoon will put Sundowns at the summit of Group B, needing only a point to progress to the quarterfinals from the remaining two games. 

"But we have to try to win the football match, and we have to try to make sure that, regardless of whether we play at 3pm, 6pm or 9pm, home or away – like we showed with the same enthusiasm, character and spirit in Cairo, we have to do it again.

"These are the games the players have to get used to playing – big games with consequences behind the scoreline."