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FIVB Men’s Volleyball Club World Championship
Doha, Qatar
15 - 21 December 2010

 Press Release
Al Ahly realistic about facing world's best

Al Ahly of Egypt celebrate their victory in the African Club Championship which booked their place in Doha, Qatar for the 2010 FIVB Men's Club World Championship

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 30, 2010 – Despite clinching victory in each of the four tournaments they have taken part in this year, Egypt's Al Ahly remain realistic about their chances when they compete for the first time at the 2010 FIVB Club World Championship Doha, Qatar next month.

Grouped with Iran's Paykan, Poland's PGE Skra Belchatow and Qatar's Al-Arabi Doha in Pool A, the Egyptians have a tough challenge ahead of them – especially as the only team in the group with no prior experience of the tournament, which runs from December 15-21.

The road to Doha was a tough one for Al Ahly. Seven months ago they stopped Zamalek’s domination of the African Men's Club Championship, clinching the title following their rivals' two triumphs in 2008 and 2009. This was just one of four trophies they won over the course of the season, with victories also in the Egypt Cup, Egypt League and the Arab Club Championship. What makes this feat even more impressive is that they managed it without losing a single match, notching up 60 wins in a row.

However, the club are well aware of the test that faces them in Doha and while they may hold on to some belief, the language of logic is at the forefront of their minds. "If we qualify for the finals, it could be described as an achievement," Dr Sameh Hamdi, the team manager, said.

Offering his take on the challenge, Fakhreldin Ibrahim, Al-Ahly's coach, said: "My ambition in the tournament is real. I want to play well and increase the players' experience, which will help them to defend their four titles." He also hopes the championship will be a successful opportunity for finding new stars for the team following the departure of four big names, including Ahmad Salah and Abdullah Abdul Salam who have been lured to European leagues.

Al Ahly captain Mahmoud Raouf said: "Playing in the Club World Championship has always been a dream. It pushed us on to produce our biggest effort in the African Cup of Champions in order to achieve it. The dream was the strongest catalyst for our continental championship win.

"I have already participated in the World Championship twice, in Japan and Italy, but I'm curious to appear for the first time in the Club World Championship, and the same goes for my colleagues, especially those who have not had the opportunity to participate in a World Championship before."

He also said that the fact the tournament was taking place in an Arab country could only bolster Al Ahly's chances, and he expects support will come from the Egyptian community residing in Qatar. "Playing in a global atmosphere is necessary to show us the best we have," Raouf added. "Al Ahly football team is a living example. It achieved the third position in the World Cup for clubs in Japan four years ago, and won the bronze medal for third place. It was really a remarkable achievement."

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