Saturday: First leg
Orlando Pirates vs Al Ahly 8pm SS4
CAPE TOWN. Holders Al Ahly are sweating on the fitness of their goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy while Orlando Pirates have declared a fully fit squad for Saturday’s first leg of the African Champions League final in Soweto.
A decision on Ekramy’s participation will likely only be made in the hours leading up to the match at the Orlando Stadium, according to the Cairo club’s website.
He has been the subject of intense speculation all week as concern over a calf injury continues to overshadow their preparations.
There is also a question mark over midfielder Hossam Ashour, who has had shoulder problems.
Both players have made the trip to South Africa for the final but trained only lightly since arriving early in Johannesburg to adapt to the high altitude.
Ekramy has battled with the injury since being taken off during Egypt’s 6-1 thrashing by Ghana in their World Cup qualifier in Kumasi in mid-October.
Pirates look set to restore midfielder Sifiso Myeni to their starting line-up and could be tempted to hand burly Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma a first start since early August.
Traditionally, the South African side play with a lone target man but given the need for goals and to establish a decent lead to take to Cairo for the second leg on 10 November, coach Roger de Sa could be considering using a second striker.
Lennox Bacela, signed in the mid-year transfer window, has been leading the line for the Buccaneers.