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Mohamed Youssef: Al Ahly paid the price for lack of domestic football
After being thrashed 5-1 by Monterrey in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef jumped to the defense of his players in the following press conference, blaming the loss on the lack of domestic football in Egypt.
“I thank the players for trying to do their best in difficult conditions. Al Ahly was able to win two consecutive African Champions Leagues under exceptional circumstances.
“This tournament does not measure Al Ahly’s level. People must excuse the players. Any talks about the players not doing their best is not realistic considering what they have done is unbearable conditions,” the manager added.
In response to whether or not Youssef would quit after the harsh defeat, he said: “I am not thinking about resigning, it would be as good as running away from my responsibility. My contract is still valid till next June, that is unless Al Ahly’s board decides otherwise.”
The lack of domestic football (two consecutive suspended seasons following the Port Said tragedy) has been, according to Youssef, the major cause behind Al Ahly’s poor performance in the tournament: “Al Ahly have paid the price of cancelling football in Egypt. It has caught up with Al Ahly as it did with the Egyptian National team when they were beaten in Kumasi 6-1 by Ghana.”
“The players were not physically or tactically fit to face the best teams in their relative continents. Moreover, having 6 main players injured had its negative effect,” he added.
Al Ahly’s participation in this year’s tournament should be a wake up call to the coach and Al Ahly officials. The African champions finished sixth place after two consecutive loses from Guangzhou Evergrande and Monterrey – 2-0 and 5-1 respectively.