Al Ahly, the champions who keep their composure

Al Ahly, the champions who keep their composure
Mohamed Hany of Al Ahly (c) holds aloft the trophy during the 2023/24CAF Champions League Final, Second Leg between Al Ahly and Esperance at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on the 25 May 2024 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Wednesday May 29, 2024. 10:00

Al Ahly made history once again as they won their 12th CAF Champions League title, and head coach Marcel Koller managed to guide the Egyptian giants to back-to-back continental crowns.

But here’s the thing, as much as the team continues to break boundaries in African football, there’s a sense of composure that they carry. Let’s take a deeper look into the mentality the Red Devils maintain under pressure.

Koller understands what’s at stake

Al Ahly die hard fans seem to have an “insatiable” appetite when it comes to revelling in the glory their team provides them. But for Marcel Koller, his mind is already on the next task.

Winning the Champions League is of course a big deal, but the Swiss tactician already knows that the fans are already expecting him to deliver even more silverware.

“I’ve learned at Al Ahly that after we finish one tournament, the fans ask us about the next one, and this is not a good thing, as they don’t know how to celebrate and enjoy these moments,” he said following their latest triumph.

“Looking for titles is a good thing, but it’s important to know how to be happy. I am like Al Ahly’s fans, hungry for titles, and my ambition is to help the team achieve more success.”

Never say die attitude

On the road to the final, the Red Devils faced a few difficult matches. One can even say that at some point it looked as though they weren’t going to make it to the finish line.

But an impressive semifinal result against TP Mazembe in the second leg where they won 3-0 following a goalless draw the first time out showed that they had sheer determination.

It would be the same in the two-legged final, where the team played a 0-0 draw against Esperance de Tunis in the first game — and then produced a defensive masterclass in the second, where they walked away with a 1-0 win and the coveted trophy.

What’s next?

Now that they’ve conquered Africa once again, Al Ahly will now turn their attention to the Egyptian Cup and the Egyptian Premier League, perhaps now they’ll be chasing the treble.

They particularly have plenty of catching up to do in the league, but with as many as 10 games in hand it wouldn’t be wise to write them off.

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