The Ethiopian club side St. George will host Zamalek of Egypt on Sunday, May 5, at the Addis Ababa stadium in the 2013 Orange CAF Champions League second round return leg. In the first leg played at the Cairo Air Defense Stadium the two sides finished level at 1-1. St. George assistant coach Fasil Tekalign sat down with cafonline.com to chat about Sunday’s crucial encounter.
Fasil Tekalign: I admit that the first leg 1-1 draw in Cairo is a good result and by simple calculation a goalless tie or a win is enough for us to reach the group phase. But this is going o be a tough game and it difficult to predict a result. Both Zamalek and St. George have equal chances. For us a goalless tie or a win will give us a ticket to reach the next important stage in the Champions League competition. The same is true for Zamalek, a 2-2 draw or a simple win is enough for them to go through.
Cafonline.com: What are your expectations from the Sunday match?
Fasil Tekalign: I am hopeful that my side will win. We have the home advantage. Using that we will do everything possible to reach the group stage. For us this is a great moment in the club’s history.
Cafonline.com: For security reason you played behind closed doors at the Cairo Air Defense Stadium in the first leg. Was it helpful for you?
Fasil Tekalign: Well, playing behind closed doors in the away match naturally helps the visiting side. The absence of fans has an impact on the home team. You know the fans inspire their side. You lose money and you don’t get the possible support of the fans. These are the facts. But one must understand that the outcome of the game is determined by the performance of the team. If you perform well and score it is possible to win with or without the fans. These days it is even common to win in the away matches. So playing behind closed doors has minor impact on the outcome of the game.
Cafonline.com: If this is the case what is the home advantage?
Fasil Tekalign: There are some advantages. There is a difference in the altitude between Egypt and Ethiopia. We are accustomed to living under that altitude in Ethiopia. We also know our pitch. In addition to this the home fans help us to inspire in the game. What is true is that ultimately the outcome of the game is decided by the performance of either of the team.
Cafonline.com: Do you think you can perform well enough to secure a win?
Fasil Tekalign:Yes, we are prepared well to challenge Zamalek and win. We were in a 1-0 lead in Cairo but we failed to maintain that lead. In the second leg we will try to avoid mistakes committed in the first leg. Without doubt the return leg will be tough and Zamalaek have nothing to lose. They have only one option, that is to win while we have to frustrate them and take advantage of playing at home, so it all set up for a interesting clash.