Sports News of Sunday, 16 October 2016
Zamalek coach Moemen Soliman is insisting his club can come back from three goals down and snatch the African Champions League title away from Mamelodi Sundowns despite being overwhelmed in Saturday’s first leg in South Africa.
The Egyptian club, who had won the title five times before but not been in a final for 14 years, were handed a 3-0 drubbing in Atteridgeville and have a veritable mountain to climb if they are to emerge as the new continental champions.
“We have to go through the dark to the light but we can do it,” the 42-year-old Zamalek boss, who has only been in the job since August, said as his team headed home to prepare for next Sunday’s second leg.
“They are strong and they are fast. We just have to be stronger and have to be faster and we can do this. We have the best players in Egypt. So we can do it. I hope it will be our day.”
The coach, who is the fourth man in charge of Zamalek this year, blamed Saturday’s defeat on bad defensive errors insisting his side were not outplayed.
“At times we made big mistakes. That I cannot live with. But I cannot blame any players. If I blame them now, I cannot play another game.
“I still have confidence in my players. They are big players and they deserve to be in the final. But we made two really big mistakes that cost us.
“I cannot understand that we committed these naïve mistakes in the final of the Champions League” Soliman said.
Soliman was full of compliments for his opposite number Pitso Mosimane, who had used his club’s prerogative to change the kick off time and forced Zamalek to play in the afternoon heat rather than a night-time kick-off which is what Sundowns had preferred for all their other Champions League matches this year.
“The weather is not different to what we have in Egypt but the only thing is that we always play at night time,” added Soliman.
“Mosimane is a clever coach to change the time. I admire him.”
Sunday’s return at the Borg El Arab Stadium will be played at 2030 local time (1830 GMT).