Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ethiopian Coffee seek to capitalize on absence of Ahly fans

Ethiopian Coffee aim to take advantage of the enforced crowd ban on Ahly during Sunday’s Champions League tie
Ethiopian Coffee's arrival in Cairo 

Ethiopian Coffee believes they can cause an upset and eliminate six-time African Champions Ahly when they meet in the second-leg of the Champions League round of 32 tie on Sunday.
Ahly will have to do without their enthusiastic supporters due to security concerns in the country following the 1 February Port Said disaster, which left at least 74 fans killed and hundreds injured.

The interior ministry initially refused to secure the game but backtracked later following warnings from Ahly that they would be banned from African competitions for up to three years if they did not play the game.

The first leg ended in a goalless draw in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“I have a high hope that we will qualify for the next round. I know that Ahly will be without their fans, and it’s known to everybody that those fans represent 50% of Ahly’s strength,” Ethiopian Coffee coach Wubetu Abate was quoted as saying on the Cairo giants’ website.

“It’s a good chance that we should take advantage of but that does not mean that Ahly are not strong. We are looking to repeat the scenario of 1998,” he added, referring to Ethiopian Coffee’s elimination of Ahly in the competition’s first round 14 years ago.

Ahly will miss five key players through injury - defender Wael Gomaa, full-backs Ahmed Fathi and Sayed Moawad and playmaker Abdallah El-Saied.