Egyptian teams are renowned for their no nonsense attitude in their own backyard and it is not easy for visiting teams to even score.
This is the reality Gaborone United (GU) has to face in a fortnight when they play Egyptian side, Haraas Elhodood, in Alexandria. GU won the first leg by a solitary goal at the University of Botswana Stadium in Gaborone, but the second leg will be a do or die game.
It looks like the encounter will be one of GU’s toughest in their history and they will have to triple their efforts.
Egyptian teams are currently in control of African football as they win many tournaments almost every season.
Before meeting GU, El-hodood had hammered Tanzanian club, Simba, by an aggregate of 6-3. They lost 2-1 away and at home they registered a massive 5-1 score line. GU coach, Mike Sithole, is however unfazed by the record of Egyptian teams. He said records are made to be broken and what puts his side on the positive side is the fact that they have not conceded a goal at home.
“GU did not concede a goal in their first game against South African side Orlando Pirates and they scored away when they drew 2-2 and managed to progress to the next round. They have not conceded a goal again against Elhodood, and if we manage to score in their own backyard they will be under tremendous pressure. We will also not be going there to sit back and defend; we will be going for cautious approach and we might embarrass them there,” he said. Credit should go to GU who showed no respect for the Egyptians as they ran riot, especially in the first half.
GU goal came in the 66th minutes, courtesy of Tshepo Molefhe. He acted on Wellington Maposa’s rebound shot from the upright post.
Molefhe did not hurry to go for a shot but picked a spot and cleverly placed the ball in the far post and did not give El-Hodood goalkeeper, Alyfaray Ahmed, a chance. After the goal, the Egyptians fought back looking for an equaliser but in vain as the GU defence stood firm. The visitors even made several substitutes but they were rendered ineffective by the GU defence, marshaled by captain Kabo Molokwane and assisted by Gobonyeone Selefa, Bashin Modisaotsile and Gabriel Bokhutlo.
If GU manage to soldier on in Egypt, they will be the first local side to progress to the group stages of the Confederations Cup.