Al Ahly skipper Mohamed El Shenawy says the Red Devils are more than hungry to put a chase to another piece of history, when they face off with Tanzania’s Simba SC in the opening game of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening.
Ahly, the record 11-time CAF Champions League winners, come into the duel with a high pedigree having won all five trophies on offer for them last season.
El Shenawy, who is also the Egyptian national team goalkeeper, says the team is hungry afresh to continue with their winning culture.
“This is our character in Al Ahly, that we always want to fight to be winners. Since everyone of us was born we are like this. We must always fight for the next title. The titles we have won before is history and we are not looking at that. We want to achieve something new, and we want to do that with this new tournament,” El Shenawy said, speaking on Thursday morning in Dar es Salaam, during the pre-match press conference.
Ahly have won back-to-back league matches back in Egypt, but they started the season with a bit of disappointment after losing the CAF Super Cup to Algerian side USM Alger.
But, the custodian says the defeat is behind their back and they are now focused on getting better and better.
“When we played in the Super Cup, we had just started our training and we were not in the best physical condition. Now we are better and we have improved a lot. We learnt so much from that game and the defeat is motivation for us ahead of this tournament,” he noted.
Ahly face off Simba, a side that has beaten them on both occasions they have played in Dar es Salaam, with El Shenawy in goal during both matches.
He conceded to a Meddie Kagere goal when they first met in 2019, and also conceded to a Luis Miquisonne goal when they played the last time in 2021.
But despite the poor history in Dar, the Red Devils are not deterred.
“In both occasions, when we lost here, we went all the way to the final and in one occasion we won the cup. So for us, what is important is the 180 minutes, not just the 90 minutes here in Dar es Salaam,” further stated the 34-year old.
He admits they expect a difficult game against Simba, who he described as a difficult opponent, but says they have prepared well psychologically and physically to battle for a win to ease the pressure for the return leg in Cairo on Tuesday.
“Everyone knows their responsibility and what it takes to win such games. We are ready,” affirmed El Shenawy.