Ethiopian side Wolaitta Dicha tackles Egyptian giants Zamalek in the first round of the CAF Total Confederations Cup in Hawassa International Stadium. The Bees of Tona set a date with the five times African champions after a 2-1 aggregate win over Zanzibar side Zimamoto in the preliminary round.
Wolaitta Dicha came to this game with a 2-1 loss to Jimma Aba Jifar in league fixture last week while their opponents Zamalek thrashed El Geish 3-0 in Egyptian topflight tie. Dicha’s coach Zenebe Fisseha told Soccer Ethiopia that his charges are prepared for the crucial doubleheader. “We were able to see some video footages of Zamalek. Based on what we saw and analaysed we prepared ourselves for the duel. We have worked massively on what we should deploy while facing Zamalek and what are the key weaknesses of them.”
Coach Zenebe is still aware of Zamalek’s capability to cause havoc in away games so he expects his charges to stay focused the whole 90 minutes. Following a devastating display against Zimamoto, the Bees of Tona sought to have more ball possession when they faceoff Zamalek. Dicha won’t be getting the service of Dagim Bekele, who was instrumental for the Sodo based outfit away draw in Zanzibar and culprit for spurring numerous scoring chances in the return leg. Amrela Deltata will replace the injured Dagim while Togolese striker Araft Djako and Haymanot Worku have a minor injury set back but are fit to start the game.
The White Knights have failed to win any continental trophies since their 2003 CAF Super Cup triumph. A dreadful season at the Egyptian Premier League saw them finish third in the 2016/17 season where they were demoted to the CAF Confederations Cup. Zamalek jetted in to the country at wee hours of Sunday morning before making their way to Hawassa, 275 kilo meters away from the capital, on Monday. Head trainer Ehab Galal told Egyptian press as quoted by CAFonline.com that their target is to get past Wolaitta Dicha. “It is completely different challenge now. We have to keep our focus and return home with the best possible result. Our target for now is to go past Wolaitta Dicha and then we will see what is next.”
Galal, who led Misr El Makassa to a runner up finish in the topflight league last season, also noted his charges have limited information about Dicha. Zamalek will be missing the suspended Mahmoud Hamdy and the injured Ayman Hefny.
Wolaitta Dicha are on their maiden season in CFA club competition.
Zamalek has never won a game in Ethiopia. They lost twice against Meder Tore (Mekelakeya) and Ethiopia Bunna and forced a draw two times against Kidus Giorgis.
The last Egyptian side to play an Ethiopian side was Misr El Makassa back in 2016. Under the now Zamalek coach Galal, Makassa beat Mekelakeya 6-1 on aggregate in Confederations Cup preliminaries. Makassa won the first leg 3-1 in Addis Ababa, the only Egyptian side to win a game in Ethiopia.