El Masry, which translates “The Egyptians” in Arabic, suffered a 0-1 defeat away to the Nigerian debutants last weekend, and need at least two unanswered goals to edge past their opponents into the next stage.
Port Said-based Masry has had two previous experiences in the continental club championship. They reached the semi-final of the defunct CAF Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999, losing to Tunisia’s Club Africain. In 2002, they repeated the same feat in yet another defunct competition, CAF Cup, before suffering a similar fate at the hands of eventual winners, JS Kabylie of Algeria.
This term, the ‘Green Eagles’ go into the continent's second tier club competition under the guidance of a very familiar face in African football and also one of the iconic figures of Egyptian football, Hossam Hassan. As always, the all-time Egyptian national team top scorer, has twin brother Ibrahim, who serves as the club’s Director of Football, by his side in the quest to take steer Masry to dizzy heights.
“I'm satisfied with my players performance in the first leg”, Hossam told CAFOnline.com after the first leg.
“Despite the defeat, everyone did his job in a good way. The conditions were very unfavourable, especially with the high humidity. I'm positive we can win in Ismailia and qualify to the next round”.
Having tasted continental glory many times in his playing career, Hossam is targeting a successful campaign preferably a place at the group stage with Masry, participating in the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time.
"Our target is a place at the group stage. From there we can see what will happen next”, he added.
As a key player for Egyptian giants, Al Ahly and Zamalek, Hossam won two CAF Champions League titles, four CAF Cup Winners’ Cup, and one CAF Super Cup, besides three Africa Cup of Nations titles with the Pharaohs. He previously tasted continental experience as a coach with Zamalek, but without any noteworthy mentioned success.
Unlike Hossam; his twin, Ibrahim, who has no fewer trophies as a player, rather opted for a managerial career. The 50-year old ex-right back, now Director of Football has expressed confidence in his side’s abilities to reach the 1/16th round.
“We had a good game in Nigeria. Ifeanyi Ubah is a strong team, but I believe we can win and qualify. We wished to play the return leg in Port Said, but that was unfortunately not possible”, he lamented.
The Port Said stadium has been closed since the 2012 disaster that resulted in 74 deaths and several others injured, following a league match between Masry and Ahly.
The game will thus take place in Ismailia, about 80-kilometres from Port Said, with the winner facing Djoliba of Mali at the next round.
Friday, 17 February 2017
Renaissance (DR Congo) vs Akanda (Gabon) (0-0)
Saturday, 18 February 2017
Yong Sports (Cameroon) vs Defence (Ethiopia) (0-1)
MC Alger (Algeria) vs Bechem United (Ghana) (1-2)
Uniao do Songo (Mozambique) vs Platinum Stars (South Africa) (0-1)
Volcan (Comoros) vs Vipers (Uganda) (0-0)
Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) vs Orapa United (Botswana) (1-0)
Messager (Burundi) vs KVZ (Zanzibar) (1-2)
Niary Tally (Senegal) vs APEJES (Cameroon) (0-1)
SC Gagnoa (Cote d’Ivoire) vs AS Sonabel (Burkina Faso)
CARA (Congo) vs MAS Fes (Morocco) (0-3)
Platinum Stars (Zimbabwe) vs Pamplemousses (Mauritius) (1-1)
St. Michel (Seychelles) vs Hilal Obeid (Sudan) (0-2)
Ulinzi (Kenya) vs El Hilal (Libya) (0-1)
Sunday, 19 February 2017
JS Kabylie (Algeria) vs Monrovia Breweries (Liberia) (0-3)
Racing Micomiseng (Equatorial Guinea) vs Etoile du Congo (Congo) (0-2)
El Masry (Egypt) vs Ifeanyi Ubah (Nigeria) (0-1)
Ittihad (Morocco) vs AS Douanes (Niger) (2-1)
SuperSport (South Africa) vs ASSM Elgeco (Madagascar) (0-0)
Wikki Tourists (Nigeria) vs RSLAF (Sierra Leone) (0-2)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs Al Salam Wau (South Sudan) (4-0)