Sudan's surprising debutants at Orange CAF Confederation Cup Al Ahly Shandy hope to brew another shocker when they visit Al-Merreikh in match day 3 clash of the group phase in the 2012 edition in the Sudanese city Omdurman this Friday evening.
"We are out to avoid defeat to Al-Merreikh." the head coach of the Sudanese side, Mohamed Al-Kouki said in an interview with the Cafonline.com.
How do you intend to build on your win against Interclube in Luanda?
That win had a positive impact that was reflected in the atmosphere at our training. The players are now training with increased vigour and high morale. They now have self-confidence and faith in their ability to reach the semi-finals.
How have the preparations gone for the coming match?
Like the other clubs, we are facing various difficulties. I asked the players to forget their problems because the success they have achieved has a price and requires double efforts to be sustained or repeated. I told them to focus only on the coming match against Al-Merreikh. Our training sessions after we returned were successful in respect of the players' attendance. They were a success even in the friendly match we played.
Does your squad have the ability to continue this surprise?
Ahly Shandy is currently going through its top phase and reaching a peak. We are going for positive results and continuing our victorious path . We will this time round though be missing the services of some of our top players, including the influential player Bathero Bampa.
What are your expectations for the match against Al-Merreikh?
It will be a difficult match. It will be a hard battle but it will not be easy for Al-Merreikh. Some factors such as individual mistakes and free kicks may make the difference at the end of the day but neither of the two teams will find it easy and with both sides keen to win it sets up for an interesting contest.
What is the secret of Ahly Shandy's success in their first participation in the African Confederation Cup?
Discipline hard-work in training, self-confidence and respect for the opponents. Our opponents underrated us because we were an anonymous team that lacked experience. We played our matches to win. We should not forget that the board of directors, the club's supporters and the team's sponsor, Salah Idriss, were all behind this success.
What are your overall plans for the match and the remaining matches of the group?
We are trying to deal with each match as it comes. The outcome of Saturday's match will clarify a lot of things, particularly if we come out with a positive result because our chances for qualifying to the semifinals will be greater. After that, we will have to play two matches in our home ground against Al-Merreikh and finally against Interclube, which will be a decisive match.
What is the best result you are hoping for and what strategy will you employ?
We will not play a totally defensive game nor will we be hasty in attacking them. We are planning for a draw if we do not win the match. Our goal is to avoid defeat to Al-Merreikh in this match.